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The Adventures of Rowdy Raccoon Review by Tammy Walker

Written by Donna C. Braymer, Illustrated by Shachi Kale
Sable Creek Press
P.O. Box 12217
Glendale, AZ 85318

Our family listens to many books on CD, so we are always interested when we find a new good story, especially when Christian character is emphasized. Donna Braymer has created the mischievous character of Rowdy Raccoon whose sin she uses to enlighten her young readers. Rowdy lives at Harrison Hollow State Park with his friends Savannah Squirrel, Tommy Turtle, Billy Beaver, and the Blue Jay family. Somehow, he always seems to find himself in trouble. This edition features two different stories: Rowdy Learns to Share and Rowdy Learns to Laugh.

In Rowdy Learns to Share, our hero finds himself tempted to steal a loaf of bread from campsite #52 where he resides. Rather than trusting in the Creator to provide for him, he finds himself true to the thief-like look his raccoon stripes and mask portray. Not only does he steal the bread against the warnings of Mrs. Blue Jay, he is not willing to share it with his friends. Stuffing half the loaf quickly into his mouth, he soon finds himself too full to even run from the small boy staying at the campsite, and his friends must come to his rescue. He is even too full to partake of the wonderful food the campers decide to leave for the forest animals later that day. If only he had waited for God to provide . . . He apologizes to his friends, telling them he has learned that it is never good to take something that is not yours and that it is always better to share.

In Rowdy Learns to Laugh, the raccoon is having a rather difficult day as he continues to find himself in situations where he looks foolish. His day begins as he falls out of his tree while taking out the trash for his mother. With trash falling upon his head, his humorous sight makes his friends laugh like crazy. A bit angry at their perceived cruelty, he finds his opportunity to laugh at Tommy Turtle by thrusting him onto his back and then spinning him so that Tommy cannot get up. The group is upset with him and tries to show him the difference between being a bully and having fun. Two more incidents allow further laughter at his expense until he is brought to tears. His helpful friends try to further explain how God says that laughter is like good medicine and that he should learn to laugh at himself from time to time, then he will be laughing WITH others. Rowdy realizes in the end that he takes himself too seriously, that the events of the day really were funny, and he and his friends are reconciled.

This delightful, high quality coloring and storybook is artfully sketched. Children can follow along as mother reads, or can listen to the sweet storytelling of the young narrator. Black and white illustrations accompany nearly every page turn so that little ones can color as they listen. The storytelling on CD is a very nice quality with chirping birds and forest sounds in the background. The stories are well written, the values within very worthwhile. We have listened to and enjoyed this story many times. My three and four year olds, especially, find delight in the pictures and tales. What a nice gift this would be for younger nieces, nephews, or grandchildren on their birthdays. Most children love coloring books. All children love stories. A half an hour with this quality little book would be time well spent.

Product review by: Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008.