Author Christa M. Miller could have subtitled Raccoon Rescue, The Kits and the Kids. Those four words pretty much summarizes this illustrated book that children in grades 2-3 will enjoy.
Roxy, Rufus, and Renae are three young raccoons who are learning about life outside their comfortable den. As they venture out to gather food they encounter humans--as well as the trash they leave behind. Children will enjoy the interaction between the kits that sounds very much like normal give and take in a family.
Here is an interchange when Roxy gets mad at her brother:
"Don't call me fox-bait!" She leaped at him.
"Mama!" Rufus screeched and got away barely in time. "Roxy bared her teeth at me!"
"Roxy, don't pick fights with your brother," Mama said. "He was only trying to help you. And Rufus, don't call your sister names. That isn't necessary." (p.13)
|Illustrated by Christian Barratt|
When the kits see a child who seems scared their mother says,
"When you see a human acting normal, the best thing to do is leave it alone."
The youngest raccoon responds, "Can we adopt it?" asked Renae. "Raise it like a raccoon?" (p. 18)
As the raccoons cross paths with Helena, Hope, and their parents, there is misunderstanding conflict, and then ultimately, a new respect on both sides. The final chapter includes clever dialogue which shows the reader how both the animals and the children feel and think.
Here is Christa's reason for writing Raccoon Rescue.
Raccoon Rescue was the result of spending hours at Izzie's Pond, a local wildlife rescue and sanctuary, volunteering to help care for recovering and orphaned animals -- including raccoons. As I watched young raccoons grow from small kits to juveniles and at last to releasable adults, I grew from simply thinking they were cute, to deeply respecting their intelligence, sociability, and instincts.
Raccoons are among the most adaptable species, but also among the least understood. In the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Rocket Raccoon is deeply offended by people calling him "vermin" or other epithets that reduce the true measure of his loyalty and quick wits. Seeing people disgusted by "disease-carrying" animals -- at the same time that professional rehabilitators treat them for distemper, worms, and even (via vaccination) rabies -- drove me to write Raccoon Rescue from the point of view of animals who are as uncertain about humans as we can be about them, and hopefully to make us think about how we see them.
Raccoon Rescue is about the heart of those misunderstandings, and the small steps we can all take to correct them towards humane, peaceful coexistence with our wild neighbors.
The illustrations sprinkled through Raccoon Rescue make this book very accessible to young readers. Read more about the illustrator, Christian Barratt, on Christa's blog. In addition, the book uses Dyslexic font to make it more accessible to readers with learning disabilities.
One of the neat extras of this well-written book are the 29 pages of Curriculum Connections at the end. I'm giving my copy to one of my granddaughters to read and give to her teacher. If you have a child or grandchild in second or third grade, consider how this might be a better teacher gift this year than another coffee mug!
|Caitlin with her Thanksgiving turkey|
and Raccoon Rescue!