Last month we shared news about a new children’s Christmas book, Fly Possum Fly, written by noted singer and storyteller, Grant Maloy Smith. It’s a charming story with a rural twist, where a team of possums step in to save Christmas when Santa’s reindeer take ill on Christmas Eve.
Pre-orders for the book are available now, ahead of it’s official release next week, and parents and grandparents are putting in orders to have this for their early readers when the holidays roll along.
But Smith says that he actually first envisioned this story as a song, and a bluegrass song at that. He was appearing as a guest on the Tim White Bluegrass Show in Bristol, TN/VA, and was taken by White’s personal possum fetish. Ever since he had a bluegrass hit with the called Five Pounds of Possum in the early ’90s with Troublesome Hollow, Tim has surrounded himself with possum paraphernalia, and it prompted Grant to go possum as well.
“Tim’s mascot is a possum, and he has pictures of possums in his studio. It was during the Holidays, so I was thinking about Christmas and the idea for this song just came to me.”
So the song came first, followed by the book, but Grant wanted to release both at the same time, thinking that having a song and a story together would really capture the imaginations of young book lovers. And he wanted a younger voice than his on the track, so he reached out to teen singing sensation Emi Sunshine who leapt at the chance to be involved.
“I love the way the song flows,” Emi said. “The concept may seem silly, but it’s so clever and funny. I sure would like to see Santa and those possums delivering my presents on Christmas morning!”
She and Grant recorded it as a duet, and youngsters will enjoy singing along with them as they imagine that possums can fly.
Fly Possum Fly, the audio track, is available now from iTunes and other download and streaming sites online. If your kids like singing along, this one will keep them occupied for some time.
Grant says that he’s delighted with how the song turned out, with Mis Emi having been the perfect choice.
“It’s for a slightly younger audience, and even though Emi is not a little kid, she is certainly closer to that age than I am. Her voice has the perfect Appalachian sound. She reminds me of a young Dolly Parton.”
The book is set to ship September 17, and should be appropriate for readers in grades 1 or 2, or for any age with someone reading it to them.