Review of:  Rascal, by Sterling North

Reviewed by:  Colin

Most young boys have a dog as their constant companion; Sterling North has a raccoon. In Rascal, Sterling North (which is also the author’s name) is an adventurous 11 year-old and is very knowledgeable about nature. Sterling lives by himself because his two sisters are married, his mother is dead, and his brother Herschell is fighting in the army in France. Sterling has mountains of pets, including  everything from dogs to skunks. He gets most of them by catching them in the Wisconsin wilderness where he lives. One day Sterling, his friend Oscar, and his Saint Bernard, Wowser, go out in the wilderness and find a den in a hollow stump. They tried to find its contents and are surprised when a furious mother raccoon explodes from her den. She also had four kits who ran off with their mother. However, Oscar was quick enough to catch one in his cap. It was their only reward for their labor, but reward enough as time would prove. Oscar let Sterling have the kit because his parents would not let him have a raccoon. Sterling names the raccoon Rascal, but surprisingly Rascal grows up fast and becomes exceptionally smart. Sterling loves Rascal, but the neighbors are not so fond of him. They want Rascal to be caged and have a leash instead of letting him wander. Sterling must make the difficult choice either to cage his beloved raccoon or take him away and let him go free.

I thought Rascal was one of the best books I have ever read. One of my favorite things about Rascal is it’s extraordinary choice of vocabulary. There are words such as tremolo, cantankerous, vociferous, and competent. I thought it was neat how the chapters titles were months.  One of the best things about Rascal is how immensely it shows the relationship between Sterling and Rascal. For example, Sterling says he would fight the toughest bullies to protect Rascal. I think it is a simple but original concept. Overall I thought Rascal was an amazingly well written book.

I recommend Rascal to ages 11-14. I say this because there are a lot of harder words and the book is written in an older fashioned way. I think people who like nature and animals would enjoy this book more than others. I thought Rascal was an incredible book.