Raccoon's Last Race

Overview

The team behind How Chipmunk Got His Stripes retells an Abenaki fable that warns against arrogance and honors the importance of keeping your promises.
 
Azban the Raccoon loves to race on his long legs. He is the fastest of all the animals, but he’s also the most conceited, mocking everyone with his speed. When the other animals grow tired of his attitude, Azban chooses Big Rock as his next opponent. Busy taunting instead of running, he ...

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Overview

The team behind How Chipmunk Got His Stripes retells an Abenaki fable that warns against arrogance and honors the importance of keeping your promises.
 
Azban the Raccoon loves to race on his long legs. He is the fastest of all the animals, but he’s also the most conceited, mocking everyone with his speed. When the other animals grow tired of his attitude, Azban chooses Big Rock as his next opponent. Busy taunting instead of running, he trips, and Big Rock flattens him. Only the ants will help stretch him out again—as long as he promises to be their friend. But will a trickster like Azban keep his word?
 
This clever and funny reimagining of a traditional story is for fans of Ed Young’s Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China and David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs.

“Lively, clever, and authentic.”—Kirkus

“The text reads aloud smoothly and keeps the action moving quickly. A strong addition to picture-book collections.”—School Library Journal

 

Tells the story of how Raccoon, the fastest animal on earth, loses his speed because he is boastful and breaks his promises.

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Editorial Reviews

Review Feed
“Lively, clever, and authentic.”—Kirkus

“The text reads aloud smoothly and keeps the action moving quickly. A strong addition to picture-book collections.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Father and son writing team Joseph and James Bruchac return with their third folktale, Raccoon's Last Race, illus. by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Here, long-limbed, speedy raccoon taunts his rivals as he easily outruns them. But when he has an accident, he gets his just deserts because of his ungracious nature. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this lively retelling of an Abenaki pourquoi trickster tale, Azban the Raccoon gets what he deserves. Originally Azban was a long-legged fast runner who liked to win races with the other animals and taunt them about it. One day he challenges Big Rock, who never has moved and doesn't want to. But Azban pushes at him until he begins to roll. Thinking he is racing him, Azban runs along teasing him until the rock rolls him flat. As he lies there, Azban is ignored by the other animals when he asks for help. Only a tiny ant calls his village out to help put Azban back into shape because Azban has promised to be his friend. Since Azban walks away without thanking them while his legs are still too short, they remain that way today and he can no longer run. Paint and ink, gouache, and pastel light-hearted pictures emphasize the animals' personalities and emotional reactions to Azban's taunting. His gestures and facial expressions also help move the visual narrative. There is a sense of satisfaction from Azban's ultimate fate. A note adds background information about the character and the story. 2004, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Reader Group, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Azban the Raccoon is a favorite Abenaki trickster and this father-and-son storytelling pair creates a lively, clever, and authentic version of his story. Long ago, Raccoon had long legs and was the fastest runner of the animals but Bear, Fox, and Rabbit get tired of being beaten and refuse to race or speak to him. So Azban tries to convince Big Rock, at the top of a tall hill, to compete-and he pushes him over the side. As Big Rock gathers speed, Azban thinks he's racing, zigzags in front him, and trips. "Ka-thunk!" Big Rock rolls Azban flat and wide, "SPLAT!" None of the animals will help him until an ant agrees; Azban's promise to be his friend seals the deal. As the army of ants pushes and pulls him back into shape, he brushes them off before they finish stretching him out, calling them "horrible" and breaking his promise. Thus, Raccoon remains short and squat and can no longer run fast. The illustrators' familiar pen-and-ink, gouache, and pastel work is as appealing as ever-Azban is a particularly engaging character. Readers will hope this foursome keeps on rolling. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803729773
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 10/7/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac are a father-son storytelling pair. They share a deep commitment to the preservation of the Abenaki Indian culture and traditions, which is part of their heritage. Joseph is the award-winning author of more than 120 books for children and adults. James is not only an author, but also a wilderness survival expert. They both live in Greenfield Center, New York.

Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey have illustrated more than seventy books for children, including several ALA Notable Books, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honoree, and two Reading Rainbow featured selections.

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