Saturday, 26 November 2016

Roxy the Raccoon and other Stories

Roxy the Raccoon

I've written before about the Truth and Tails book series, and how impressed I always am with them. They have lovely, colourful illustrations, and the simple stories provide the ideal starting point for discussing big issues with young children. Carlos the Chameleon explores outward appearances and fitting in, for example, while Vincent the Vixen introduces the idea that sex and gender don't necessarily correlate.

The latest in the series, Roxy the Raccoon, is another triumph. I was sent this to review some time ago and today I finally had chance to sit down and read it with Marianna - she loved the artwork and quickly picked up some new animal vocab. Roxy lives at the bottom of a big tree in the forest, close to her friends Sammy the Squirrel, Cherry the Chipmunk and Brad the Beaver, who all find ways to better include Roxy in their activities because "it's much nicer when we can do things together."

Roxy the Raccoon watches the sunset
Roxy watches a beautiful sunset.

Brad fashions a ramp to his dam, for instance, so Roxy can use her wheelchair to visit him, and Sammy switches from playing football to catch so they can all play. I really liked how the message was presented, with a focus on how much better it is for everyone when we make things inclusive - too often inclusion is still seen as something done to fill a quota, rather than something which positively impacts on all of us.

The stories are aimed at 4-8 year olds, so I wasn't expecting Marianna (almost 2) to know exactly what was happening, but she followed along pretty well and understood when Roxy was sad and when she was happy. Read more about Truth and Tails at the official website, or head over to Amazon where you can pick up your own copy of Roxy the Raccoon for £7.99.

What I've Read This Month

Other books I've read this month include...

The Dual AllianceThe Dual Alliance by Marjorie Benton Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fiction, 1915. The tale of a successful actress who marries her accountant and helps him in his campaign to be elected mayor, as an alternative to committing suicide out of sheer tedium. This is a predictable romance, but no less charming for it! I've written lots more about Marjorie Benton Cooke and her work HERE.
The CricketThe Cricket by Marjorie Benton Cooke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fiction, 1919. I love this book - it never fails to make me laugh, cry, and dream up a thousand different scenarios for what happened after the final page was done with. The thing about The Cricket is that it tackles themes most authors would be leery of today, let alone almost a century ago. Take this discussion between Isabelle's (AKA the Cricket) parents on her fourth birthday:

"Look here, Wally, don’t begin on that mother stuff. I didn’t want her any more than you did, and we were fools to have her. That may be abnormal, unnatural, and all the rest of it, but it’s the truth, and there are lots of other women just like me. You can’t lump us, any more than you can lump men. We don’t all of us have the maternal instinct, not by a long shot."

"Don’t talk like that, Max; it’s not nice."

"There you go. It’s all right for you not to want a child, but it’s indecent in me. That’s a man-made idea, and it won’t work any more. Lots of us don’t find motherhood either satisfying or interesting, and we’re getting courage enough to say so."

Because beneath all the lighthearted comedy and the heart string tugging, The Cricket explores a powerful message. Not all women want children, and if they don't it only does everyone more harm than good to push them into motherhood. For instance, there's a real tear jerky scene where we learn that Isabelle, even at the age of 16, writes weekly letters to her imaginary 'regular parents' - a coping mechanism she used in the nursery - who love and cherish her in a way her own simply aren't capable of. It's sentimental and a bit flowery at times, a product of its era, but still well worth reading.
Chocolate Mousse for Greedy GooseChocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2006. Cute little rhyming story about an animal dinner party. My toddler loves it!


Five on Brexit Island (Enid Blyton for Grown Ups)Five on Brexit Island by Bruno Vincent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2016. Light hearted satire on the whole Brexit debacle. It's a nice bit of nostalgic escapism, and even raises a chuckle on occasion. :)

Anthony has also reviewed this book HERE.


I also have a copy of Five on Brexit Island to give away. Just fill out the Gleam widget below to get up to five entries into the prize draw - 

Five on Brexit Island Giveaway

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