________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 16 . . . . April 4, 2008


Raccoons. (Backyard Animals).

Jennifer Hurtig.
Calgary, AB: Weigl, 2008.
24 pp., hardcover, $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-59036-669-1.

Subject Heading:
Raccoons-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4


The food raccoons eat changes with the seasons. In spring, raccoons mainly eat meat. In summer, they eat berries, nuts and other plants. In autumn, raccoons eat more food than they do at other times of the year. They do this to prepare for winter. Raccoons eat corn, nuts, and grain to build fat. They use the fat reserves to survive in cold weather when food is more difficult to find. During this time, up to half of the raccoon's body weight may be fat.


Children are attracted to raccoons because of their almost-human qualities. They have appealing dark fur ringing their eyes, and their claws are capable both of climbing and dissecting food. They are round and cuddly-looking and are smart survivalists. Raccoons, part of the "Backyard Animals" series offers young children interesting facts to explain why these mammals are successful both in the wild and within urban settings. The lack of some facts and a variety of pictures to support others weakens the quality of  the book.

     Raccoons is 24 pages long and is divided into 12 two-page chapters. Each chapter has one full-page or near full-page picture of the common raccoon found throughout North America. The information provided will educate children about the anatomy and life cycle of the raccoon, its natural habitat and about human interaction with them. Learning about wild animals within the midst of human activity is important. The book carefully explains that raccoons can carry disease and that, although they are cute when they are young, they can become aggressive as adults. Still, basic information is missing, such as the term used to describe baby raccoons (kits), something that young readers would never forget. The book lacks pictures of the different breeds and the obvious explanation that four of those breeds are unique because they are restricted to islands and one is likely extinct. A website suggested for further information turns out to be of no value educationally – it's a commercial website for pet supplies, breeding and insurance.

     Raccoons will appeal to children who like to read about animals, and it will also prove useful to them for early-level research projects. The last page includes a glossary of words bolded throughout the text and a brief index.


Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.