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Rascal (1963)

by Sterling North

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,834362,322 (4.01)49
The author recalls his carefree life in a small midwestern town at the close of World War I, and his adventures with his pet raccoon, Rascal.
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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Sterling North recalls the year of 1918-19 when he raised a raccoon kit called Rascal at the age of 11. In many ways it was a simpler time, and despite the fact that his brother was away at war and his mother had died four years previous, the story has more than a touch of nostalgia as Sterling pretty much has the run of the place while his father works or leaves on business trips. He's building a canoe, having adventures with his animal friends - including a crow and a dog named Wowser, in addition to Rascal - dealing with school bullies, and going to the local fair.

I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this title, working my way haphazardly through all the Newbery Award and Honor books. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun this was to read as an older Sterling reminisces about one glorious year and contemplates the changing times of his community and the world at large. Some older children's books don't age well, but this one has a lot of charm and lasting appeal. ( )
  bell7 | Aug 29, 2020 |
00002625
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Amazing book that covers the hassle of handling a raccoon as well as the charm. I always think first of a scene where the raccoon tussles with a crow over something he stole from his humans that the crow stole from him. I recommend this for young and old alike.

Hits the generic issue of releasing a wild animal on the grounds they'll be happier. Wild raccoons are lucky if they live to be four, captive raccoons often can reach tens to twenties in age. ( )
  Yolken | Nov 6, 2019 |
Although excellent, this one seemed an odd selection for a Newbery Honor. Rascal is a memoir, not a novel. It is also more of a paean to nature and an old fashioned rustic way of life than it is a story. The writing is beautiful in a poetic way. It's not that today's 12-year-old wouldn't understand what they were reading in this book... but I don't think many 12-year-olds could appreciate the beauty of every sentence, or the value of a book in which plot isn't particularly relevant.
Sterling North finds a baby raccoon when he is 12 years old, and like so many other wild animals in his past, he takes it home to keep as a pet. His mother is dead, and he is the only child of an indulging and permissive father, who even takes weeks long business trips, leaving Sterling at home on his own.
The time period is World War I. Sterling has an older brother serving in France, but his Summer and fall are all wrapped around Rascal, the raccoon he has brought home. Most episodes are about the raccoon, but in others, Rascal is just a player in a larger story about Sterling's childhood in the small town upper mid-west.
It's a lovely book. My suspicion however, is that only the very brightest, or most nature-loving of today's adolescents will appreciate it. ( )
  fingerpost | Oct 30, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
North, Sterlingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burger, CarlIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horppu, LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muehlon, IreneÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schindler, EdithIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"A very interesting book could be written about the Raccoon and, with its industrious energy and resourcefulness, it deserves to be elevated to the status of the National Emblem in place of the parasitical, carrion-feeding Bald Eagle." - Ivan T. Sanderson in Living Mammals of the World
Dedication
For Gladys, my constant companion in watching our wilderness world.
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It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Should not be combined the the simplified Little Rascal.
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The author recalls his carefree life in a small midwestern town at the close of World War I, and his adventures with his pet raccoon, Rascal.

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Book description
Skunks, woodchucks, a crow named Poe, an absentminded father, and an 18-foot, half-finished canoe filling the living room - welcome to the North home! Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home to join the menagerie. But soon the mischievous raccoon is ready to join Sterling in swimming, fishing, and camping excursions. They're partners and best friends for a perfect year of adventure - until the spring day when suddenly everything changes.

Available online at The Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/details/rascal0000...
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