Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Published by Candlewick Press

Summary: Francine Poulet is a third-generation animal control officer who has yet to back down from any animal that needs controlling. Until one night when she’s called in to catch a ghostly raccoon on a roof and gets the first fright of her life. After a fall off the roof results in a lengthy hospital stay, Francine decides she’s not cut out to be an animal control officer after all, and gets a job at a bait and tackle shop. Fortunately, a young boy named Frank comes into the store one day and encourages Francine to try again with the raccoon, which has now taken up residence on a roof on Deckawoo Drive. Francine musters her wits, climbs up the house, and overcomes her fear to stare down the raccoon and eventually snare it in her animal control net. She is back and better than ever. Grades 1-3.

Pros: Fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series will recognize several characters in this new Deckawoo Drive series (this book is the second installment). The crazy situations, goofy characters, and slapstick illustrations combine to make this lots of fun for beginning chapter book readers.

Cons: Some of the sophisticated vocabulary and humor may be a bit over the average eight-year-old’s head.

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