Rascal by Sterling North

Published: 1963

Genre: middle grade memoir/adventure (I don’t think its fiction)

Length: 192 pages

Setting: a small town in Wisconsin in 1917

Interest: I was looking for a relatively short audiobook for a gymnastics trip. I’d heard of the story and thought Miss Adventure would enjoy the animal story.

Summary: We follow the author for a year when he found a raccoon kit. He brought the raccoon home and spent a delightful year with Rascal.  Sterling and Rascal like to ramble out in the countryside. Sterling’s father was a professor and he often left Sterling alone for days at a time. Sterling’s sisters despaired of their messy house, but the guys liked their bachelor pad (often full of Sterling’s pets and projects). They take a vacation up north in the summer. Rascal gets bigger and starts causing problems in the neighbor’s gardens and chicken coops. The next spring, once Sterling finishes the canoe he’s been building in the living room for months, Sterling takes Rascal into the woods to grow wild.

Final thoughts: Both Miss Adventure and I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narrator really drew you in. Since the story was written in the first person, it sounded like someone was just sitting around, telling stories of his life. It certainly made me want to go out and tromp through the woods. It also made me nostalgic for my childhood when I would spend my afternoons down at the creek (although I didn’t get all day out in the woods like Sterling often did). Of course, much of the book couldn’t take place in this day and age. Having a raccoon for a pet would not be the commonplace occurrence it was seen as in this book. Even worse, Sterling was left home alone for weeks at a time, and he wasn’t even a teenager! Social Services would be there in no time in this day and age. Even so, I loved the naturalistic elements to the story.

Title comes from: Sterling named his pet raccoon Rascal

Reading challenges fulfilled: #35 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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