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Perhaps the most serious problem with current literacy campaigns is that they ignore, and even divert attention from, ... More
Summary: Miss Mary is confused, but she's not the only one. She has searched high and low, but can't find her book bag. A curious raccoon (who took the bag) is confused about what's inside. He ate the sandwich, but what about all this other stuff? Thus begins his quest to find out what kind of treasures he has. This fantasy story brings forest animals to the library for storytime.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 9 and Up
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 3.2
Age of Child: Read with girl nearly 7 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter loves animal stories, and sat quietly as we read this one. At the end, though, she said it was boring.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a creative story that has the potential to be very clever. The book is something of a cross between Wild About Books (without the rhyme) and Pied-Piper type stories where characters join the group to find the answer to a question. It was disappointing to hear Raccoon say that he wouldn't let his "curiosity get the better of him in the future." The scene called for his apology, but not for saying he won't be curious. With words like partake you can expand your child's vocabulary; but it is, overall, a bit wordy.
Pros: Kids who love animals may enjoy this story that offers them a chance to help Raccoon solve the mystery of what's in Miss Mary's book bag.
Cons: The illustrations are basic and the images of Miss Mary aren't particularly flattering. They did not connect the readers/listeners in our house to the character.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a nice story, but the reading level (nearly third grade) doesn't match the target audience.
Educational Themes: First and foremost, this is a story about reading and books. Make it fun by recreating a story time at home with your child sitting among his favorite stuffed animals. Ask him why he invited these to be his guests. The first scene in the story sets the tone for a major theme: stealing. It is not overplayed, but it is key to the plot. Raccoon's apology focuses on his controlling his curiosity, rather than the choice he made. Depending on the age of the child, you may want to take some time to talk about that. You can talk about the animals and how they worked together.