Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
by Kathi Appelt
Atheneum, 2013.  326 pgs. Fiction

     Two young racoons, Bingo and J'Miah, are the true blue scouts whose job it is to wake the Sugar Man if ever the Bayou Tourterelle is in grave danger. Trouble is, the Sugar Man is very hard to wake, and no one knows exactly where he sleeps except his true blue guardian swamp rattler Gertrude, a very large snake, indeed.  Bingo and J'Miah live in an abandoned DeSoto, covered with swamp vines and no longer functional except for the radio which comes on occasionally when a lightning storm strikes the swamp, and then the true blue scouts must listen to The Voice and do what it tells them because it always speaks the truth.  Chap Brayburn a young tall boy lives with his mother on the edge of the swamp which they both love, and he and the true blue scouts have to join forces to save the swamp from Clydine and Buzzie and their gang of wild hogs, and from Sunny Boy Beaucoup and Jaeger Stitch who want to "develop" an alligator-wrestling theme park in the swamp. Appelt's folksy prose and wry sense of humor make this book a lark and a treasure. And to make it even better, listen to the audiobook, narrated by none other than Lyle Lovett. Top of my list so far this year for the Newbery.

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