The creator of Skippyjon Jones leaves behind, at least temporarily, her bestselling Siamese kitten’s Frito Bandito–speak for pure corn pone in her new story of a little hoarder raccoon.
As the book opens, young Dewey Bob sets out to find a home big enough for his burgeoning collections: of buttons, of experiences (stored in glass jars), and other stuff. Moving into a hollow tree, he immediately goes out “shopping” at the dump, where he fills his cart with a small mountain of oddments that he turns into a found-art sculpture. Lonely, he then moves on to collecting fireflies (he releases them), then maniacally tosses “every critter too slow to get out of his way” into his cart as potential friends. The “li’l rascal” is unfazed when everybody promptly bolts but for a kitten who can’t leave due to injured hind legs, a condition Schachner forces readers to infer from the illustrations. This meandering and tendentiously cute story is crammed into 32 pages with little regard for story arc, transition, or coherence. Schachner’s mixed-media illustrations are eye-catching, and Dewey Bob looks adorable, but they background a text that feels written around such self-consciously down-home declarations as “I’m a mean, clean, washin’ machine!” Indeed, so committed is Dewey Bob to cleanliness that his habits yield the technically accurate but wildly incongruous simile “as clean as a bucketful of bleached bones.”
An undisciplined mess. (Picture book. 3-7)