Rocky Racoon & His Caring Classmates
by Janet H. Councilman

"The bitter cold seemed to wrap around each of the friends, but their hearts were warm with excitement and compassion for the sick children."

Built around a number of different animals, this story takes place in the town of Mistletoe and the local school. Rocky Racoon and his mother are getting ready for the Christmas Cookie Swap that is to take place at the elementary school. Other characters in the tale include Spike the Squirrel, Ollie the Owl, and Rambo the Dog, as well as others who are excited about the school function being led by Mrs. Day, the principal. Rocky is chosen to be a leader of the Cookie Swap because of his "kindness and caring for others." After all, it was his idea to help the hospitalized kids during the holiday. They take the school bus to the hospital to deliver the cookies to the children's ward, where the ill children are happy to get the cookies. Rocky learns a lesson about the importance of caring, as do other children. The book ends with defining this character trait.

In this sweet children's book, the topics of being compassionate, caring, helpful, and kind are nicely shown through the storyline. Along with the fun story and its appropriate dialogue, the artwork successfully complements the text and is able to show the story even without words. Utilizing animals for the characters is a classic technique that works well for children. However, the effectiveness of the work would be enhanced through some additional editing. Still, this is a good look at the importance of teaching children about caring. Although the author's stated target audience is children from age six to nine, this book could easily be used with young ones of other ages as well.

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