cover image Raccoon Wants to Be First

Raccoon Wants to Be First

Susanna Isern, trans. from the Spanish by Robin Sinclair, illus. by Leire Salaberria. NubeOcho (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-84-943691-7-9

In a story originally published in Spain, Isern (What Are You Scared of, Little Mouse?) and newcomer Salaberria introduce a raccoon who has grown accustomed to being the first and best at everything. Whether it’s locating four-leaf clovers, finding shapes in the clouds, or being “the fastest, slipperiest animal in the forest,” Raccoon revels in his #1 status until a fox shows up with stories of daring exploits and a knack for besting Raccoon at various physical feats. Raccoon sulks for a while until he learns the benefits of appreciating his surroundings during a mountain-climbing trip with Duck. Working in what looks to be colored pencil, Salaberria’s inviting and distinctive illustrations have a gently textured, almost quilted look, and she dresses her big-eyed animal cast in dapper sweaters and pants, accessorized with roller skates, backpacks, and knit caps. The translation, though, is less successful, sounding fairly robotic at times (“One day, a foreign fox arrives in the forest and quickly becomes friends with the animals of his age”) and switching almost at random between past and present tense. Ages 4–up. (May)