Monday, March 18, 2019

Muddy The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes -a bookwrap


Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes

* Age Range:  4-8
* Grade Level:  PS-2
* Hardcover:  32 pages
* Publisher:  NorthSouth Books
* Pub. Date:  April 2, 2019
* Language:  English

Unwrapping some illustrations for you 

Editorial Review

Softly rendered watercolor illustrations, with sketchy lines and evocative details, nicely depict the story and its droll touches, such as the resourceful raccoons’ animated dialogue, their habit of fastidiously washing items 17 times, and Muddy’s dapper red bow tie. Animal fans in particular will likely enjoy the quirky premise and cute, independent-minded Muddy. (Shelle Rosenfeld Booklist)

Unwrapping the story

Muddy Whiskers is different from the rest of the community of raccoons.  While they dine on ordinary raccoon food such as clams, frogs, slugs, acorns, turtle eggs and crayfish Muddy only wants to eat garbage and he likes to eat it off of a plate.  What?  Really?  Why he even wears a cute little bowtie to show off his elitism.  That too makes him very different from the commoners. At night he sneaks across the river to a busy, fancy restaurant and goes through their trash. He steals a plate to eat his tasty delights.  

All the Mud River raccoons used to live in the city but are now banished because they ate too much garbage.  None of them want to get into trouble with the humans anymore so they make a pact never to cross the river and steal the people's food ever again.  They all agree to the plan.... except... Muddy.  He just can't bring himself to abandon those yummy morsels that he craves and loves so much. 

Each night his father calls him from his tree perch and asks him to come down and help the group wash clams.  Muddy declines the invitation because he is waiting for his favourite restaurant to open so he can go steal their leftovers. La Grand Bistro's, "Open" sign flashes on and Muddy zooms off.  His dinner is waiting for his taking. 

When he reaches his destination he notices the door to the restaurant kitchen is open and he sees a plate full of French fries.  Do you think he can resist the temptation of just one tiny nibble?  He suddenly hears footsteps, grabs his plate and tears off back home as quick as he can go.  When Muddy climbs out of the water he bumps into his parents.  Oh my!  He is in trouble BIG TIME now! 

Will Muddy be reprimanded for his disobedience?  Will he be able to redeem himself and take responsibility for his wrong-doings?  Will he be forgiven by his community for breaking the oath they swore to never cross the river and to eat the human garbage that they dispose?  

The book is a simple read and can be a catalyst for conversations regarding: obeying parents, choosing to do the right thing, asking forgiveness, and upholding family honour, just to suggest a few.  I wasn't a huge fan of the illustrations as I find them to be sketchy and blurry and not much help in enriching the storyline.  In my opinion they need to be more defined and refined adding more animation and emotion.  I love that Muddy learns a valuable life lesson, one I hope he can be content with and live out as he goes forward in life.  

Storywraps Rating -  4 HUGS!!!

Meet the author

Griffin Ondaatje was born in Kingston, Canada. He is the author of The Mosquito Brothers, and The Camel in the Sun, illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber, which was selected for the Austria Children’s Book Prize and shortlisted for the Middle East Book Award. He also edited The Monkey King and Other Stories, a collection of South Asian stories, folktales and legends, and directed Complete Unknown, a documentary film about Bob Dylan. His books have been translated into German, Korean, Arabic, Italian and Swedish. He has three children and lives in Cambridge with his family.

About the illustrator

Linda Wolfsgruber was born in South Tyrol, Italy. She is a world-renowned artist who has exhibited her work throughout Europe and in the United States and Japan. She has won many awards, including the Austrian Art Award (2016), the Children’s and Juvenile Book Award for Illustration (four times), and the Golden Apple of the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava. She is on the shortlist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award (2018). She lives in Vienna.

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