Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Cover image for The true blue scouts of Sugar Man SwampChap Brayburn lives on the edge of the Bayou Tourterelle,with his mother in a little pie shop.  Bingo and J'miah, two faithful scout racoons, live in the old DeSoto deep in the tangle of the swamp. Sony Boy Boucoup and Jaeger Stitch want to turn the Bayou into a large alligator wrestling theme park.  The wild hogs, Buzzie and Clydine, want to tear the Sugar Man swamp apart and trample all the wild sugarcane.  When the swamp and Bayou are threatened both Chap and the racoon scouts go into action.  It seems like an impossible task to save their beloved home, but Chap and the racoons are willing to do whatever it takes even if that means waking up the old Sugar Man himself.

This book is a delight.  It is the most entertaining book I have read in a long time.  The narrative sounds like an old southern yarn told sitting on the front stoop, but the plot is deceptively complicated. The stories of the racoons and Chap run parallel.  The Raccoons don't know about Chap and the plan to develop the swamp.  Chap doesn't know about the Racoons and the terrible hogs, but the two sets of heroes end up inadvertently working together and helping each other. Appelt has created such a well crafted story, endearing and courageous protagonists, and deliciously evil and humorous villains.  This is a great family read aloud and would appeal to a wide range of ages.(326 p)

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