During excellently illustrated misadventures beyond his forest home, a plucky baby raccoon learns that he should listen to his mom or risk getting trapped in sticky situations.
In a delightful debut, Younge pens a charming story worthy of young readers’ curiosity. “Raccoons are very mischievous animals,” and Sammy Ringtail “is no different.” He lives with his mom and his two siblings, Riley and Reggie, in an oak tree not too far from a metropolis called the Big City. Although he’s the youngest raccoon, “he wanted to prove that he could do everything even better than his brother and sister.” He seizes the opportunity to do exactly that after a visit from his uncle Jack. One evening, after listening to his uncle’s tall tales, Sammy disobeys his mom and escapes from his house to see the city firsthand. Alone, wide-eyed and naïve, Sammy survives with sheer luck and a little help from his loved ones. In this book, Younge creates lovable characters out of backyard critters often branded as nuisances. Through Sammy’s family, the author indirectly explains how and why raccoons forage in many suburban backyards. Younge is a skillful storyteller, so dialogue throughout the book is engaging and easy for youngsters to follow. Readers will also enjoy the book’s imaginative layout, which features cute raccoons and their paw prints walking across the pages. Moreover, the appealing color palette—blues, earthy browns, black, and splashes of yellow and silver light—provides a realistic sense of the forest at night, enhancing the book with a rascal charm. Though the writing is on par with the digital illustrations, it stops rather abruptly. For reasons that are unclear, the book ends before Sammy ever even reaches the Big City. Perhaps it’s the author’s intention to close this particular parable with a halfhearted cliffhanger; after all, a number of readers will demand an encore. Younge’s writing holds great promise, and Sammy’s bold antics could be spun into an entertaining series.
A lively bedtime story for young adventurers.