Another Great Chapter Book from Kate DiCamillo

I recently picked up Kate DiCamillo’s chapter book, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, from our local library. It’s Volume Two in Tales from Deckawoo Drive. Familiar characters from the first book in the series, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, can be found in the second book. Both books, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, will appeal to young readers who are looking for something more than books in the I Can Read category.

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In Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, Francine comes from a long line of animal control officers. She has won trophies and holds records for the most animals controlled. Her father referred to her as the genuine article and solid like a refrigerator. Francine loves her job and does it well. Nothing frightens her. When Mrs. Bissinger calls for help to round up a ghostly-looking raccoon on her roof, Francine is on the job. But when the raccoon with its sharp teeth, high-pitched screaming, and odd looks charges at Francine, she panics. Fear seizes Francine, and she loses her perfect balance. A tumble from the roof lands Francine in the hospital with aches, pains, broken bones, and a severe case of fright. Francine loses her self-confidence and resigns from her animal control job. It’s not until a young boy, Frank, convinces Francine that she must face the raccoon to end her fears and go back to being the great animal control officer she really is. Frank cheers Francine on as she attempts to capture the wild raccoon. She remembers what her father said about being the genuine article and summons all of her courage to catch the raccoon. Success! Francine wins her struggle over panic and fear and finds a kindred spirit in Frank.

In this book, readers learn that adults have fears, too. What I particularly like is that Frank, the young boy, understands Francine’s problem and convinces her to do what she must do. This is a funny and heart-warming book that I recommend.

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