We began a new read aloud yesterday. Rascal (Sterling North) was sitting on my bookshelf. I can’t even recall why I had checked it. Perhaps to pass along to one of my children for a bit of free reading? In any case, I needed a read aloud and there sat Rascal.
We were just a page into the book and my children were already captured.
It was May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder. He weighed less than one pound when I discovered him, a furry ball of utter dependence and awakening curiosity, unweaned and defenseless. Wowers and I were immediately protective. We would have fought any boy or dog in town who sought to harm him.
Wowser as an exceptionally intelligent and responsible watchdog, guarding our house and lawns and garden and all my pets. But because of his vast size – one hundred and seventy pounds of muscled grace and elegance – he seldom had to resort to violence. He could shake any dog on the block as a terrier shakes a rat. Woswer never started a fight, but after being challenged, badgered, and insulted, he eventually would turn his worried face and great sad eyes upon his tormentor, and more in sorrow than in anger, grab the intruder by the scruff of the neck, and toss him into the gutter. p15-16
A boy and his dog….and his pet racoon. My children can not resist it.
His virtual invisibility was due to the fact that he was lying on a large jaguar-skin rug which Uncle Justus had sent us from Para, Brazil. The mounted head had realistic glass eyes which Rascal often fondled and sometimes tried to dislodge. The little racoon blended perfectly into the handsomely marked pelt of the once-ferocious jungle cat.
When Rascal began to rise from that skin, like the disembodied spirit of the Amazonian jaguar, it startled Theo nearly out of her wits.
“What in the world is that?”
“That’s Rascal, my good little racoon.”
It is a delight to read.