post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Loony Coon
Author: Sam Campbell
Series: Living Forest
Major Themes: Racoons, Wisconsin
Synopsis: Throughout one summer, Sam and Giny befriend and study the raccoons around their Sanctuary, and enjoy the hilarious antics of young Loony Coon.
Loony Coon was the first book I ever read by Sam Campbell. I believe I found it on the shelf of discards at our local library, when I was about ten years old, and I fell in love with it. I loved reading animal stories at that time, and this book is all about animals. I have read it aloud to several different groups of children, and they have all enjoyed it, too.
The story opens in early spring when Sam and Giny check out a hole in a hollow tree and find their old friend Andrea, a large mother coon, with her six new babies. One of them stands out from the others, with his floppy ear and a white streak on his face—and his penchant for mischief! Even though his eyes were still closed, he climbed out of the tree and tried to run away! This was only the beginning….
As with all of the books in the Living Forest series, there is a young person who stars in the story. This time, it is Sonya, a young girl whose parents have just moved to Wisconsin from England. Sonya lives for animals, but her mother is terrified of them, yet wants to learn to love them as Sonya does. Sonya is enthralled when she meets the animals at the Sanctuary, the nuthatches, the squirrels and chipmunks—and the raccoons!
My favorite parts of this book are the chapters about the raccoons, especially the time Sam gave them some watermelons. That chapter had us all in stitches! However, the rest of the book is great, too. You don’t want to miss reading about Warden Olie and Grandmaw Honker, and the rest of his menagerie. The conflict between the raccoons and Giny Bubo is infuriating, with a happy ending. Anyone who enjoys animals will love this book and want to read more of the series.
WARNING: Chapter 11 mentions male raccoons killing and eating their offspring. A few pages later, Sam says that someday men’s spiritual growth will reach the point where he won’t trap animals. In chapter 23, Warden Olie uses a word I don’t like—but I don’t know what it is because I blacked it out thoroughly years ago! In chapter 24, Warden Olie calls his goose a witch, and in chapter 25 he says, “dogged if I ain’t.”
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy Loony Coon:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Keywords: Racoons, Wisconsin, Family Read-alouds, Animal Stories