Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Raccoon Tales

Hi, I'm Esmé, and I am two years old.  (Mommy says I'm turning three soon.)

Have I told you I'm into animal books these days?  Especially if they can really talk.  Well, I've got an animal book to tell you about today it's about raccoons!  They can't really talk, but they purr and churr, so it's still a good book.

Raccoon Tales, by Joy E. DeKok, is a four-story book about five raccoons.  Published by Jabberwocky Books, this 49-page paperback picturebook has a suggested age range of 4-8.  Its list price is $11.95.  You can find out more and even get coloring pages at the author's site:

Here's the synopsis of the book from the publisher's page: 
Author Joy DeKok shares this true life journey in the first year of the lives of these little “washbears.”

Written in easy-to-read verse, she tells their story with tenderness and energy. Readers will leave the story glad they came, knowing more about raccoons, and what a wild animal rescue and release looks like. Illustrator Leslie Helen Colwin’s delightful illustrations bring the story to life.
And a little information on the author: 
Joy and her husband Jon live on thirty-five acres of woods and fields. In their valley is a small pond where they watch birds, dragonflies, and other wildlife who stop by for a drink.
Here's what I've got to say about the book - Mommy's questions in bold:

Is this your book?  Yeah!
Do you like this book?  Yeah!
What is it about?  The raccoon tales.
Tell me about the raccoons.  What are their names?  Meeko, that's Shadow, RC, Lucy.  Chatter is hanging on the tree.
What food do they eat?  They wash it and eat it!  I never seen a raccoon wash it and eated it.
What did you write?  There - that says "raccoon bears.
Are raccoons called washbears?  Yes, because they wash their food.
Let's get back to the book.  I was sitting on it [the book] so it will feel better.
What happened to the raccoons?  They lost their mother.  They needed help.
So God sent someone to help them?  Yeah.
Let's move on to the next story.  What is it about?  Meeko was in the rabbit cage.
Why?  Was he sick?  Yeah.
And God helped him get better?  Yeah.
And what's the next story about?  1 - 2 - 3 - 4.  The brown [raccoon] was gone!
RC?  Yeah!
Did he come back?  Yeah!  God kept him safe.

Mommy's Notes

What I Liked:  What's not to like?  The rhyming made for easy and fun reading and allowed us to play our rhyming game, where Esmé guesses at the rhyming word at the end of the line.

There were lots of nature lessons and a racoon facts page at the end.  And the spiritual lessons made the book for me.  Each story ended with a life application and a Bible verse very applicable to kids' lives.

The illustrations were attractive and colorful, too.  I found it interesting how Esmé HAD to identify each raccoon by name in the illustrations - and there's a spiritual application to that, too.  It was a little challenging to distinguish between a few of them, so I just guessed!

I've reviewed a great adult fiction book by this author (Rain Dance), and looked forward to seeing her work in the children's genre.  I wasn't disappointed!  She's got a heart for kids, and it shows.

What I Didn't Like:  My only pseudo-complaint:  this book had FOUR stories in it!  They follow on each other well, but can each be read stand-alone, too. 

We have a five-book limit before naps and bedtimes, and I tried to convince Esmé that one story made up one book in that count.  But she's too clever and insists on getting all FOUR stories for the price of one!  So this 4-story format is an economical choice, but not always practical for the mommy wanting to just finish up reading and get to sleep... :)

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for the review copy of this book.


Cheryl said...

Thanks for the great review of Joy's book. Our family enjoyed this one too.


Ticia said...

I love her writing it. Very fun.