I’m a lot of things, but I’m pretty sure (checking behind me) I’m not a raccoon. However, if I was curious about what it is like to be a raccoon, I’d have this book to look to; You are a Raccoon, by Laurie Thompson (Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah) and illustrated by Jay Fleck (Tiny T. Rex.)
It is one of four books by these two in the Meet Your World series from Dial. The others, You Are a Honey Bee, and You Are a Robin, coming out in March, and You Are a Garter Snake in June.
This nonfiction series is aimed at a younger picture book crowd, though the information is interesting and fun for all. The narrative is in short simple sentences while delivering an engaging account of a raccoon from birth to kit to adulthood. We learn as the raccoon learns, step by step. We learn about the food they eat (who knew they ate frogs?), the dangers they encounter (Yikes! A fox!), the way they play (Jump! Wrestle! Chase!)
Every two-page spread has play-along activities for the reader and listeners making it a fun interactive experience.
Sniff! Wiggle! Whine!
Sniff! Sneak! Snack!
Crawl! Cling! Climb!
Jay Fleck’s illustrations are terrific. Most of the book is at night time so we have a rich palette of blues and browns. Mostly in big, saturated colors for the backgrounds and silhouetted suggestions of the landscape.
Rendered in such simplicity but with a real understanding of the raccoons’ environment that it is easy for your mind to fill in detail and wander through their world. Each spread is highlighted with a contrasting splash of color, whether it is the orange of the fox or the yellow of the moon or the red of a snail that draws our focus on each image as we page through.
The characters, the raccoons, are delightful. Their expressions are perfect everywhere, whether successful in their endeavors or failing, or frightened or just having fun. They are engaging on every page. I kind of want a fiction picture book with this young raccoon. The kids on every page are diverse and cheerful and full of energy.
You Are A Raccoon is an entertaining and joyful book with lots of information. And for a deeper dive into their world, there are two pages of back matter, full of more facts and fun activities to do.
This is a terrific read-aloud with interactive elements through out. I’m sure this will be much-loved and requested book, both in school and at home.
I’ve seen You Are a Honey Bee and it is terrific as well. I look forward to You Are a Robin and You Are a Garter Snake!