About two years ago, during a family trip to New Orleans, my husband suggested that we take a swamp tour – one of those tourist adventures where you board a swamp boat (a small skiff) and head off for a “real Bayou experience.” At the time, I wasn’t so sure about visiting a swamp, but it was awesome. I felt like we were in a mystery novel! We even saw alligators sunning themselves on logs…here’s a picture I took as we went down the river:
My memories of the swamp all came back while I was reading Kathi Appelt’s new novel, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.
As others have pointed out, True Blue Scouts has similarities to Hoot, Carl Hiassan’s popular novel for young readers. True Blue Scouts is an environmental adventure with three main threads: a mysterious Sugar Man who hides in the swamp and hasn’t been seen for 60 years; two raccoons who “guard” the swamp and distribute important information from an unlikely source, and Chap, a twelve-year-old boy who wants to protect the swamp from developers. Of course there’s also a villain – in this case an alligator wrestler who wants to turn the swamp into a “World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park.”
Appelt’s book is on the shortlist for the National Book Awards in the Young Adult literature category. It’s a fun, magical story that makes you want to listen to Cajun music! Although it has nothing to do with the story, the first thing that drew me to this book is the cover by Jennifer Bricking. It sets the mood perfectly, and the raccoon’s faces are so sweet you would never expect them to go through your garbage!
True Blue Scouts is the perfect book to recommend to kids between the ages of 9 and 12 who enjoy fantasy, adventure, or alligator wrestling!
Yesterday was a busy day in the Library – here are a few pictures I took in between helping to find the newest Magic Tree House book or anything by Mo Willems…