Raccoon's Last Race: A traditional Abenaki Story
by Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4–A solid retelling of an Abenaki legend. Long ago, Azban the Raccoon was a gifted athlete, but years of terrible sportsmanship have left him almost completely friendless. Having run out of animals to annoy, he finally challenges a large boulder situated atop a hill to a race. To his surprise, the boulder overtakes and flattens him, leaving Azban to beg unsuccessfully for help. After a colony of ants–one of the few creatures whom he had not yet offended–works together to restore some movement to his limbs, Azban impatiently brushes them off and trots away before they can finish the job. Noticing too late that he is still misshapen, and with no one left to take pity on him, he has had to live with his lumbering build ever since. The text reads aloud smoothly and keeps the action moving quickly. Done in pen-and-ink, gouache, and pastel, the illustrations accentuate the humor of the tale. The boldly colored animals are set against softer backgrounds, and occasional close-ups add variety to the scenes. An authors' note provides some background for the story. A strong addition to picture-book collections.–Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
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