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A Newbery Honor Book Celebrating 50 years of a beloved classic! Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes. Rascal is a heartwarming boyhood memoir that continues to find A Newbery Honor Book Celebrating 50 years of a beloved classic! Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes. Rascal is a heartwarming boyhood memoir that continues to find its way into the hearts of readers fifty years later. This special anniversary edition includes the book's classic illustrations restored to their original splendor, as well as a letter from the author's daughter, and material from the illustrator's personal collection. "Everyone should knock off work, sit beneath the nearest tree, and enjoy Rascal from cover to cover."—Chicago Tribune


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A Newbery Honor Book Celebrating 50 years of a beloved classic! Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes. Rascal is a heartwarming boyhood memoir that continues to find A Newbery Honor Book Celebrating 50 years of a beloved classic! Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes. Rascal is a heartwarming boyhood memoir that continues to find its way into the hearts of readers fifty years later. This special anniversary edition includes the book's classic illustrations restored to their original splendor, as well as a letter from the author's daughter, and material from the illustrator's personal collection. "Everyone should knock off work, sit beneath the nearest tree, and enjoy Rascal from cover to cover."—Chicago Tribune

30 review for Rascal (Puffin Modern Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)

    Rascal is a perfectly crafted book. It's entertaining and simple enough to appeal to youngsters, yet has enough complexity and fine prose to enchant adult readers. I loved it when I first read it at age eleven, and I loved it even more this second time through, when I'm old enough to...well, old enough... This is Sterling North's account of 1918-1919, the year he was eleven and added a baby raccoon to his already large and unwieldy menagerie. He already had pet skunks, woodchucks, cats, a Saint B Rascal is a perfectly crafted book. It's entertaining and simple enough to appeal to youngsters, yet has enough complexity and fine prose to enchant adult readers. I loved it when I first read it at age eleven, and I loved it even more this second time through, when I'm old enough to...well, old enough... This is Sterling North's account of 1918-1919, the year he was eleven and added a baby raccoon to his already large and unwieldy menagerie. He already had pet skunks, woodchucks, cats, a Saint Bernard dog named Wowser, and my favorite, Poe-the-Crow. Poe lived in the belfry of the church and called out "What fun! What fun!" to people arriving for church services. As Sterling's constant companion and everybody's entertainer, Rascal is the star of the show. He's a show-off and a bit of a bandit, stealing shiny objects and pilfering sweet corn from neighborhood gardens. He loves to catch crayfish, ride on the merry-go-round, and snuggle up in bed with his owner. When I read this as a kid I was tuned in to all the animals. This time I found so much more depth to enjoy. I'd forgotten about how his father let him build an 18-foot canoe in the living room! Rascal's charming antics aside, this is a story of how a motherless boy and his indulgent, good-natured father made an enviable life for themselves in rural Wisconsin almost 100 years ago, despite the uncertainties of war and fears of the Spanish flu epidemic. I vow to revisit this heartwarming book more often in the future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I read this as a kid & didn't really appreciate it since it was pretty much like my own childhood in many ways, even though mine took place about 50 years later. Reading it now, in this age of child repression, helicopter parents, & restrictive laws is both a treat & terribly sad. My grandson will never know the freedom that we had. The year this was published, was about the first time my cousins & I were getting dragged home after dangerously riding the tide out of the marshes on Long Island's n I read this as a kid & didn't really appreciate it since it was pretty much like my own childhood in many ways, even though mine took place about 50 years later. Reading it now, in this age of child repression, helicopter parents, & restrictive laws is both a treat & terribly sad. My grandson will never know the freedom that we had. The year this was published, was about the first time my cousins & I were getting dragged home after dangerously riding the tide out of the marshes on Long Island's north shore into the Sound miles away. A decade later, we built our own kayaks, although it was a barn project with fiberglass & chicken wire that we bought with money we made doing chores on the surrounding farms in MD. Good times & I didn't appreciate them enough. The story of this coon was great. My uncle raised several & at about a year old he always turned them loose as they got pretty mean. They were never as nice as Rascal, but pretty close. We never gave them the amount of attention he got. The void Rascal filled in Sterling's life & the final sorrow was very well done. I also loved reading about the farm & times. It's set in 1918 & has some great views about WWI in which Sterling's older brother fought. This book is probably somewhere between fiction & nonfiction, so I've shelved it accordingly. There was a Rascal, a canvas canoe, & a lot more that was true. Some names were changed & Sterling's sister doesn't fully agree with his take on the family. I'm sure much of the story was made up of bits & pieces which are true enough, too. His descriptions of the countryside & a boy's rambling through them was just too perfect not to be true. Highly recommended for all ages. This edition was wonderfully narrated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    What sweet sorrow when this tale ended. I loved spending time with a boy and his raccoon in bygone days.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Have you noticed that books written prior to the 1940's are all set outside? Everyone is outside all the time. Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Great Brain boys, Jack London of course. Even Jane Austen thinks it's no big deal to take a casual one mile stroll in a complicated dress that probably weighs about twenty pounds. Well, the same goes here. A childhood outside with random animals and a father with a benign neglect type of parenting style. What could be better? This book was an instant favorite fi Have you noticed that books written prior to the 1940's are all set outside? Everyone is outside all the time. Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Great Brain boys, Jack London of course. Even Jane Austen thinks it's no big deal to take a casual one mile stroll in a complicated dress that probably weighs about twenty pounds. Well, the same goes here. A childhood outside with random animals and a father with a benign neglect type of parenting style. What could be better? This book was an instant favorite five pages in. The only thing that hampers this book is a PBS special about how this story was made into a cartoon during the 1970s in Japan. Raccoons, which were not a part of the Japanese landscape, were brought in as pets for the kids. Then when they got unruly, they let the raccoons go in the wild. Now the poor country is completely overrun with the creatures and they are destroying everything. I'm sure Sterling North had no idea that would happen. But, back to the story, I love that that Sterling as a boy had so much freedom and independence and the space to roam around and discover life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Dusty Jacket

    One pleasant afternoon in 1918, eleven-year-old Sterling North, along with his Saint Bernard, Wowser, and friend, Oscar Sunderland, were in Wentworth’s woods. There, in the hollow base of a rotten stump, hid a mother raccoon and her litter of four kits. Angered and frightened by Wowser’s intrusive digging, mother and kits darted to safety, but not before Oscar was able to capture one of the kits in his knit cap. On that May 15th day, young Sterling had no idea that this incident would mark the b One pleasant afternoon in 1918, eleven-year-old Sterling North, along with his Saint Bernard, Wowser, and friend, Oscar Sunderland, were in Wentworth’s woods. There, in the hollow base of a rotten stump, hid a mother raccoon and her litter of four kits. Angered and frightened by Wowser’s intrusive digging, mother and kits darted to safety, but not before Oscar was able to capture one of the kits in his knit cap. On that May 15th day, young Sterling had no idea that this incident would mark the beginning a very unusual and special friendship. A friendship filled with irresistibly shiny things, strawberry pop, sweet corn, music, crayfish, and a no-good rotten bully by the name of Slammy Stillman. The next twelve months would be a year that young Sterling would never forget. "Rascal" received a Newbery Honor in 1964 and is Sterling North’s memories of growing up in southern Wisconsin from May 1918 to April 1919. It would be a time marked with his brother, Herschel, serving in World War I, Armistice Day, and the Spanish influenza, which claimed more lives in his beloved town of Edgerton (referred to as Brailsford Junction in this book) than the war. North was the youngest of four children. His father was a successful landowner and his mother died when North was only seven. In "Rascal", North describes a time when front doors were never locked, neighbors looked after one another, family and good health were your most prized possessions, and all it took to make young Sterling North the happiest boy in the world were his bike, his pet raccoon sitting in the front basket, and the wind in your face as you barrel down a hill at top speed. Some reviewers of North’s biography call it a story about friendship while others say it is a journey dealing with loss. I found it to be more a love letter written to two mothers: Sterling’s own beloved mother, Sarah, and Mother Nature herself. North is exactingly detailed when he describes the beauty and splendor of wildlife, the complexities of the various plants, and the science behind selecting the perfect bait when fishing. Younger readers may find these sections a bit tedious (as they’re probably more anxious to read about Rascal than river trout), but it is a clear reflection of the awe and respect that North has for the world around him and how these observations directly connect him with a mother that he barely had time to know. He sees his mother in every bud and hears her voice with every new discovery. Mother Nature is, in effect, his own mother reaching out and embracing him and these moments are truly heartwarming and comforting. During the Christmas of 1918, Sterling’s Aunt Lillie asked him what profession he was thinking about pursuing. After discounting his desire to become a doctor, his aunt suggested that a writer might be a more suitable choice, as his mother might have wished this vocation for him. After Sterling questioned her about it, she explained, “And then you could put it all down…the way it is now…case weather, the fog, the lantern light…and the voices of the men—hear them—coming in for breakfast. You could keep it just like this forever.” Lucky for us, young Sterling listened to his aunt and by doing so, allowed readers to keep him, Rascal, and Brailsford Junction, just like this, forever as well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Dawn

    I came across this book the other day, and had a vague remembrance of reading it as a child. I enjoyed re-reading this memoir. It has something to offer both children and adults.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    So yes, I really do wish that I had encountered Sterling North’s autobiographical and 1964 Newbery Honour winning novel Rascal when I was as a twelve year old voracious reader indeed often quite majorly despairing that for far too many children’s novels featuring pets, the endings more often than not seemed to conclude with the animals in question either dying or needing to be euthanised, needing to be killed, and often quite horribly and painfully so, with of course their generally child or tee So yes, I really do wish that I had encountered Sterling North’s autobiographical and 1964 Newbery Honour winning novel Rascal when I was as a twelve year old voracious reader indeed often quite majorly despairing that for far too many children’s novels featuring pets, the endings more often than not seemed to conclude with the animals in question either dying or needing to be euthanised, needing to be killed, and often quite horribly and painfully so, with of course their generally child or teenaged erstwhile owners left totally and utterly bereft and traumatised. For while at the end of Rascal, young Sterling does end up having to release his cherished raccoon back into the wild (since Rascal as a sexually mature adult male raccoon is really no longer a suitable pet), Rascal most happily and appreciatively simply ends with the scenario of Sterling setting his pet raccoon free (to live his life and to also find a mate) and not with Rascal turning vicious and dangerous and thus having to be killed (or that Rascal is shot by hunters). And indeed, this to and for me truly does make Rascal oh so much more readable, agreeable and enjoyable than for example a novel such as Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows (where the deaths of the main protagonist’s two pet hounds have always been way way too devastating for me and almost deliberately painfully depicted), leaving Rascal as a mostly sweetly delightful exotic pet tale with an ending that is of course also a trifle painful as Sterling does have to relinquish his raccoon but ultimately a conclusion both happy and yes also appropriate for Rascal (as he would not have been able to remain with Sterling and his family once his sexual urges and instincts had established themselves). With much description and a totally realistic and authentic feeling of historical time and place, I most definitely have very much enjoyed Sterling North’s printed words. And yes, the only reason why my ranking for Rascal is four and not yet five stars is that I personally and definitely am a trifle uncomfortable with how Sterling North obtains Rascal as a pet in the first place, since I really do have my issues with the fact that Sterling and Oscar deliberately dig into a raccoon den and basically steal a young and helpless Rascal from his mother.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sovotchka

    "Rascal" is an American classic, telling the story of how the boy Sterling found a little raccoon in the spring of 1818, and took him on as a pet. While it took me a while to get into, due to the very old language style, and the fact that an adult was writing down memories of his childhood - therefore not feeling very much like a child - , I can see why this is the perfect book for reading in school. Due to the setting in 1918, and Sterling having a brother fighting in France, World War I and its "Rascal" is an American classic, telling the story of how the boy Sterling found a little raccoon in the spring of 1818, and took him on as a pet. While it took me a while to get into, due to the very old language style, and the fact that an adult was writing down memories of his childhood - therefore not feeling very much like a child - , I can see why this is the perfect book for reading in school. Due to the setting in 1918, and Sterling having a brother fighting in France, World War I and its consequences are described throughout, mentioning the loss suffered by the families and also the wartime economy, with even eleven-year-old Sterling planting and selling his own vegetables. The main part of this book however are descriptions of the American - and especially Wisconsin - flora and fauna. Sterling knows a lot himself, his Dad teaches him a lot, and then there's his passion for observing the world around him. My favourite image was that of the osprey: On top of all that come two bonus points: 1) The lovely raccoon art in the book, inspiring you to create your own. 2) Sterling's love for poetry. Nothing is better to teach a young kid how to love poetry than to show him another young kid doing just that. I will probably read this a lot of time, maybe for the descriptions of the landscape and animals alone. In any case, Wisconsin could not ask for a better advertisement, and I'd love to visit it now. Thus, 5 shiny little stars that Rascal can steal if he wants :).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Jr.

    Dad and kids both liked this beautiful book. Warm, rich, kind, interesting. Historical, instructive, a time-traveling machine. Kept kids quiet. Kept Dad coming back for more. There were inequities and wickednesses happening in that America; but there were beauties, too, beauties that only an untamed land with a population full of hope (even during the Great War) can give us. Eight-year-old girl: “It was funny and clever. I liked the part where the bully yells that thing about ‘crazy raccoon’!” Fiv Dad and kids both liked this beautiful book. Warm, rich, kind, interesting. Historical, instructive, a time-traveling machine. Kept kids quiet. Kept Dad coming back for more. There were inequities and wickednesses happening in that America; but there were beauties, too, beauties that only an untamed land with a population full of hope (even during the Great War) can give us. Eight-year-old girl: “It was funny and clever. I liked the part where the bully yells that thing about ‘crazy raccoon’!” Five-year-old boy: “Oh, well I didn’t like this part very much but when his owner says he was carefully picking the cans, the shining things at the store.” Ten-year-old boy: “I really loved Rascal. He was so funny. Then I liked how the writer wrote it. He wrote in a good way.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Just a beautiful and wonderful book...as a classic children's book, it's a book that adults can also enjoy. This story of a boy in Wisconsin raising a baby raccoon is a memoir, and, as such, transported me to a time and place long gone. And you will never forget "Rascal." Just a beautiful and wonderful book...as a classic children's book, it's a book that adults can also enjoy. This story of a boy in Wisconsin raising a baby raccoon is a memoir, and, as such, transported me to a time and place long gone. And you will never forget "Rascal."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen GoatKeeper

    As much a memoir as an animal story, this is a relaxing read. Set in 1918 world events touch but don't really enter the story of a boy and his pet raccoon. His brother is overseas in France. He has a war garden and sells the produce for a little cash. Spanish flu races through his town. But the heart of the story is Rascal. And Rascal is all spoiled raccoon. The information about raccoons is very interesting. Knowing something about how troublesome they can be, I could see some of the disasters co As much a memoir as an animal story, this is a relaxing read. Set in 1918 world events touch but don't really enter the story of a boy and his pet raccoon. His brother is overseas in France. He has a war garden and sells the produce for a little cash. Spanish flu races through his town. But the heart of the story is Rascal. And Rascal is all spoiled raccoon. The information about raccoons is very interesting. Knowing something about how troublesome they can be, I could see some of the disasters coming. The illustrations are nice. Even more interesting are all the mentions of conditions in Wisconsin in 1918. The lack of paved roads. The raising of tobacco. Lifestyles. People and attitudes. The wild country now under pavement and buildings. The description of Lake Superior. Yes, this is a children's book. No, it's not just for children. It would be even more enjoyable for adults with a bit of historical background especially if a bit familiar with Wisconsin.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    At long last, a beloved-pet story with no death scene!! That alone would give it five stars, but apart from that, this is Sterling North after all--an excellent writer. Somehow I never read this as a child, though I remember the Disney movie being advertised (I don't think I ever saw the movie, either.) We had a copy of So Dear to My Heart that I read and re-read, though. I have vague memories of someone bringing Rascal home from the library, but I never read it--which surprises me. I'm glad I p At long last, a beloved-pet story with no death scene!! That alone would give it five stars, but apart from that, this is Sterling North after all--an excellent writer. Somehow I never read this as a child, though I remember the Disney movie being advertised (I don't think I ever saw the movie, either.) We had a copy of So Dear to My Heart that I read and re-read, though. I have vague memories of someone bringing Rascal home from the library, but I never read it--which surprises me. I'm glad I picked it up today: it jerketh not the tears, nor talketh down to the children in its intended audience. (I'm not sure the author intended it as a specifically "children's book" but it does get read to them and is in many libraries as such). It's a love letter to a time and place gone by. Oh, the place is still there, but changed so that the author wouldn't recognise it. I doubt very much that he could still say that there is no water cleaner or purer on earth than Lake Superior!! People wonder how I can read so many books every year. I will tell you: I suffer (and that's the word) from insomnia and tinnitus (closely linked; the tinnitus makes it hard to sleep, and lack of sleep makes the tinnitus louder). Last night I got a whole four hours of sleep, coming wide awake at 3.30 AM. As we live in an apartment with tissue-paper walls, it's not advisable to do much of anything before 7 AM at the earliest, so I lie there and read. And read. And read. Sometimes though, you get so tired you don't want anything that's mentally challenging. For those days, there are books like this: well written, delicious, I devoured it in a single day. To be brutally honest, I was too tired to do much else. The only thing is, it may have been a factor in people trying to make pets of raccoons, thinking they were going to have the same sort of wonderful experiences, in the sixties or the seventies or the 2000s. I know that raccoons have been imported into Europe for the pet trade, with disastrous results. They escape or are abandoned, and they breed and become an invasive species. An entire, adult male raccoon gets actually quite big--and quite aggressive. No wonder the boy releases Rascal into the wild when he realises his pet is sexually mature! They are also a vector for rabies--not once does the owner speak of having his coon vaccinated, but in those days few people had their cats vaccinated either; I was once told by an older vet in the 1980s here in S. Europe that "cats don't get rabies." Oh don't they just!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    This book, published in 1963, was a Newbery Honor book for 1964. Although published as fiction, it is an autobiographical account of one year of the author's childhood, 1918, when he was eleven years old and adopted a baby raccoon. He lived in Edgerton, Wisconsin, which he faithfully recreates as Brailsford Junction in the book. It was the last year of World War I and his older brother was fighting in Europe. His mother had passed away several years before. His two sisters no longer lived at hom This book, published in 1963, was a Newbery Honor book for 1964. Although published as fiction, it is an autobiographical account of one year of the author's childhood, 1918, when he was eleven years old and adopted a baby raccoon. He lived in Edgerton, Wisconsin, which he faithfully recreates as Brailsford Junction in the book. It was the last year of World War I and his older brother was fighting in Europe. His mother had passed away several years before. His two sisters no longer lived at home, with one married and the other at the University of Chicago. Sterling's father was often absorbed in his work, leaving Sterling on his own. North's writing is exquisite, painting a subtle, achingly nostalgic feel for a place and way of life long gone. North's childhood reminds me so much of Farley Mowat's autobiographical accounts of childhood on the Canadian prairie about a decade or so later. The sort of freedom to roam and experience nature expressed by these two authors seems the perfect childhood for a young boy. The little raccoon, Rascal, will steal your heart. This is a book to be savored by readers of any age. Toward the end of the book, Sterling's beloved Aunt Lillie discusses with him what he might want to be when he grows up. He muses that he may want to be a doctor, but she tells him he is too sensitive for such work and that his mother would have wanted him to be a writer. "A writer?" [he queries] "And then you could put it all down," Aunt Lille said, "the way it is now....You could keep it just like this forever." (p. 180) And so he has done; it is our privilege to enter his world through the pages he has crafted. Is this not the beauty of reading: to live for awhile in another person's thoughts, no matter how far removed in space or time? ***For pictures of Sterling North's home, which is now a museum, go to this site:http://www.gojefferson.com/rascal/

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ms. B

    I can't believe I didn't read this when I was younger. Perhaps, it was hidden with ths biographies in nonfiction? Set almost 100 years ago in southeastern Wisconsin, this is the delightful story of an eleven year-old boy (Sterling) and the raccoon that he keeps as a pet for a year, from May 1918 to April 1919. I can't believe I didn't read this when I was younger. Perhaps, it was hidden with ths biographies in nonfiction? Set almost 100 years ago in southeastern Wisconsin, this is the delightful story of an eleven year-old boy (Sterling) and the raccoon that he keeps as a pet for a year, from May 1918 to April 1919.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hope Eifert

    One of the most beautifully atmospheric books I've read in a long time, maybe ever. Sterling North's writing is pure poetry, and his childhood so beautiful, poignant, and full of classic Americana. One of the most beautifully atmospheric books I've read in a long time, maybe ever. Sterling North's writing is pure poetry, and his childhood so beautiful, poignant, and full of classic Americana.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Surprisingly charming! Not usually the type of book I end up liking, but I did enjoy this one. There was something simple and sweet about it that made me happy. Part of it might have been the audio narrator. He had a voice that reminded me of all the old movies I used to watch from the 40s and 50s. So pleasant and soothing. I was happy to read that the book is autobiographical about the author. That also makes books like this more enjoyable. Basically it’s just the stories of the author with his Surprisingly charming! Not usually the type of book I end up liking, but I did enjoy this one. There was something simple and sweet about it that made me happy. Part of it might have been the audio narrator. He had a voice that reminded me of all the old movies I used to watch from the 40s and 50s. So pleasant and soothing. I was happy to read that the book is autobiographical about the author. That also makes books like this more enjoyable. Basically it’s just the stories of the author with his pet raccoon, Rascal. His dad was very lenient which gave him free rein to live an adventurous childhood. He even made a canoe in the living room! Rascal is so cute. I’ve always loved raccoons and this book emphasized their more charming habits. One of the better Newberry books!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jasey

    Can I just say that I love raccoons?!!! They're right up there in my favorite animals list next to ferrets! There are a lot of cute stories about Rascal that reeaaally make me want catch a raccoon and keep it as a pet even though my mom's family tried several times years and years ago. Apparently it didn't work out very well. Anyways, this book is adorable, and the ending made me want to cry. There's one story where Rascal goes up to the sugar cube bowl, takes a sugar cube, goes straight to a bo Can I just say that I love raccoons?!!! They're right up there in my favorite animals list next to ferrets! There are a lot of cute stories about Rascal that reeaaally make me want catch a raccoon and keep it as a pet even though my mom's family tried several times years and years ago. Apparently it didn't work out very well. Anyways, this book is adorable, and the ending made me want to cry. There's one story where Rascal goes up to the sugar cube bowl, takes a sugar cube, goes straight to a bowl of water, and starts trying to wash it! Of course, he is rather confused when he stops washing and he isn't holding the sugar cube, but it ends happily and he learns not to wash his sugar before eating it! I love this book and Rascal and just EVERYTHING!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    just starting to read this book. I have never read it before but I have seen the movie. the movie was good this is also a true story

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I knew this book would be fun to read with my kids, but I didn’t expect it to choke me up a little. It’s not overly tender, but there are a precious few glimpses that this book is not written by a 12 year old boy but by an old man treasuring his childhood. Just a few hints, but they make this story richer. Sterling has an almost unimaginable level of independence and he handles it with more maturity than I can really comprehend. He takes care of his raccoon, simply delighting in his companionshi I knew this book would be fun to read with my kids, but I didn’t expect it to choke me up a little. It’s not overly tender, but there are a precious few glimpses that this book is not written by a 12 year old boy but by an old man treasuring his childhood. Just a few hints, but they make this story richer. Sterling has an almost unimaginable level of independence and he handles it with more maturity than I can really comprehend. He takes care of his raccoon, simply delighting in his companionship and curiosity as a substitute for the mother he’s lost, the brother away at war, the father who respectfully lets him be as responsible as he is. In return, his raccoon delights in this tour of the human world. And it all takes place just an hour away in a town we can’t wait to visit now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    A glimpse into the simple yet rich life of a young boy and his pet raccoon. My 9 and 6 yr olds (and their mom) loved it. We read in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic. This book is set during the 1918 flu epidemic and the author contracts the flu. The schools were closed and everyone was wearing masks. His community lost more people to the flu than in the war. Read with Naomi and Julia at bedtime. 2020 A memoir or autobiography

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rissa

    Rascal⭐️ Sterling just wanted to raise little Rascal show him how to be a racoon 🦝 to survive but he formed a bond instead an unbreakable bond. But in the end Rascal was a raccoon and Sterling knew what he needed to do to make his friend happy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Still have my copy of this paperback.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cassiejoan

    Amazing storytelling with beautiful language. This was such a good read aloud bc it captured all 3 kids attention and held it. We laughed out loud, cried at the ending, and sat spell bound for the whole thing. There was a choice word or two and some opinions that made discussion points for us, but in my opinion, this is an outstanding book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Nothing I could write could begin to touch Jeanette's wonderful review of this book...so I shall re-direct you to that.... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I would just add that for those of us who find it unpleasant - there is quite a lot about fishing in this memoir. Nothing I could write could begin to touch Jeanette's wonderful review of this book...so I shall re-direct you to that.... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I would just add that for those of us who find it unpleasant - there is quite a lot about fishing in this memoir.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    We loved this book! It is a wonderful book for kids and families! We all want a pet raccoon now!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaylee

    This is a wonderful book . I learned a lot about raccoons and I just fell in love with the cute little raccoon and he is possibly is the best pet a person could have.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    A wonderful tale of boyhood and companionship, this autobiography tells Sterling North's story of his life with Rascal, his pet racoon. He places you in the middle of the setting so clearly. Very well done. A wonderful tale of boyhood and companionship, this autobiography tells Sterling North's story of his life with Rascal, his pet racoon. He places you in the middle of the setting so clearly. Very well done.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    So refreshing that it's still so readable, so respectful and reverent. Not as extreme as PETA, but certainly much more so than, say, Where the Red Fern Grows, which broke my heart well before the dogs died.... It's "autobiographical." But written by the MC, so doesn't that mean memoir? In any case, it's lovely, and historic. I don't know how much North let his nostalgia filter his memories and his reports, though, so I won't argue against shelving it as fiction. In any case, published in the 60s, So refreshing that it's still so readable, so respectful and reverent. Not as extreme as PETA, but certainly much more so than, say, Where the Red Fern Grows, which broke my heart well before the dogs died.... It's "autobiographical." But written by the MC, so doesn't that mean memoir? In any case, it's lovely, and historic. I don't know how much North let his nostalgia filter his memories and his reports, though, so I won't argue against shelving it as fiction. In any case, published in the 60s, about the years 1918-1919, so historic even when new. I believe I did read it as a child. I believe I didn't care for it because there weren't enough antics about the raccoon in it. Too much about the boy for me then. (I forgot to review this right away. I might have given it four stars at the time, but I remember almost nothing about it, so I really don't know, and certainly if it's not memorable it's not worth more than three!)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clay

    This Newbery honor classic was my husband's favorite book when he was ten or eleven, so naturally I wanted to read it too. I was surprised to find it in the local library's young adult section. Why, I wondered? Yes, the vocabulary's a bit more challenging than the average eleven-year-old might be used to, but the true story of young Sterling North and his pet raccoon, Rascal is as good a book as I've ever read, and I'm only sorry I didn't read it when I was ten. Eleven-year-old Sterling lives nea This Newbery honor classic was my husband's favorite book when he was ten or eleven, so naturally I wanted to read it too. I was surprised to find it in the local library's young adult section. Why, I wondered? Yes, the vocabulary's a bit more challenging than the average eleven-year-old might be used to, but the true story of young Sterling North and his pet raccoon, Rascal is as good a book as I've ever read, and I'm only sorry I didn't read it when I was ten. Eleven-year-old Sterling lives nearly independently while his nurturing but busy widowed father is constantly away on business. But Sterling's extraordinarily self-sufficient and far from alone. He's building an 18-foot canoe all by himself in the North's living room and spends his days companioned by his St. Bernard, Wowser, four skunks, Poe-the-Crow and the nearby natural world of Wisconsin with which he's on intimate terms. One day Wowser digs up the lair of a mother raccoon and her four kits and all scramble away but one, the titular Rascal, who for one remarkable year rides on the handle bars of Sterling's bike ("a fool for speed"), eats at the North's dinner table and sleeps in Sterling's bed. And that's just the start of this funny, beautiful, true story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Auni

    I wanted to revisit this novel to immerse myself into Sterling North's writing style and find a deeper meaning in a book I had deemed as one of my favorites back in elementary school. My appreciation for the classic grew even greater since I was able to understand the historical context and setting of the story much more clearly than before. The author describes his relationship with his pet raccoon, Rascal, during his transition towards adolescence, with the backdrop of World War I and the pass I wanted to revisit this novel to immerse myself into Sterling North's writing style and find a deeper meaning in a book I had deemed as one of my favorites back in elementary school. My appreciation for the classic grew even greater since I was able to understand the historical context and setting of the story much more clearly than before. The author describes his relationship with his pet raccoon, Rascal, during his transition towards adolescence, with the backdrop of World War I and the passing away of his mother reflecting much deeper themes than those which I had originally perceived. Overall, this story of friendship and maturation of a young boy is a poignant reminder of simpler times, but also serves as a tale of compassion. Rereading this novel leaves no doubt in my mind that this piece of literature was worthy of a Newbery Honor Award, and I highly recommend this book to any enthusiast of coming-of-age tales. It gives me great pleasure to rate this novel a 5 star book.

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