The Troublemaker

Lauren Castillo. Clarion, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-547-72991-6
Castillo (Melvin and the Boy) gives her typically sweet-tempered artwork a dash of hot sauce with this tale about a mischievous boy who’s outdone by a thieving raccoon. The “bored” narrator snatches his sister’s stuffed bunny, blindfolds it, and ties it to the mast of his toy boat. “Off ye go, matey!” the boy says to his co-conspirator, a stuffed raccoon, as he “send[s] the prisoner out to sea.” The boy’s mother and sister protest, and when the bunny disappears again, they naturally blame the boy. Readers see the real troublemaker—an actual raccoon—dragging the long-suffering bunny off into the woods. When the boy’s stuffed raccoon disappears next, he gets a taste of his sister’s distress. More thievery follows, and the next morning, the raccoon thief is found asleep on a tree branch surrounded by the missing plunder. Gradually, the boy develops empathy for his sister’s point of view (“I miss Rascal... I bet Sister misses Bunny, too”), and the penultimate spread shows him restoring Bunny to her with big-brotherly care. The raccoon gets the last laugh, though. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
Genre: Children's
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