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RACCOON’S LAST RACE by Joseph Bruchac


adapted by Joseph Bruchac & James Bruchac & illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8037-2977-4
Publisher: Dial Books

Azban the Raccoon is a favorite Abenaki trickster and this father-and-son storytelling pair creates a lively, clever, and authentic version of his story. Long ago, Raccoon had long legs and was the fastest runner of the animals but Bear, Fox, and Rabbit get tired of being beaten and refuse to race or speak to him. So Azban tries to convince Big Rock, at the top of a tall hill, to compete—and he pushes him over the side. As Big Rock gathers speed, Azban thinks he’s racing, zigzags in front him, and trips. “Ka-thunk!” Big Rock rolls Azban flat and wide, “SPLAT!” None of the animals will help him until an ant agrees; Azban’s promise to be his friend seals the deal. As the army of ants pushes and pulls him back into shape, he brushes them off before they finish stretching him out, calling them “horrible” and breaking his promise. Thus, Raccoon remains short and squat and can no longer run fast. The illustrators’ familiar pen-and-ink, gouache, and pastel work is as appealing as ever—Azban is a particularly engaging character. Readers will hope this foursome keeps on rolling. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)