The Way of Courage
by Janet Hallagin

"Courage, then, is nothing more, and nothing less, than seeing what needs to be done and doing it."

This engaging tale begins with a few pages describing raccoons to familiarize the reader with their natural behaviors and unique characteristics. This section also acts as a prelude to the main story of Mia, a young raccoon who becomes separated from her birth family when she gets trapped by a farmer, who takes her to a distant location and releases her. She must then make her own way in the world, form connections with the residents of another forest—such as another raccoon, a badger, and a vixen—and use her knowledge of traps to help her friends avoid the machinations of a cruel trapper on the loose. Together, they seek out a means to protect their home and all the creatures who inhabit it.

Aside from the wealth of information on raccoons in the introduction and throughout the story, one of the best things about this book is that it can double as a field guide. The pages following Mia's tale outline safe ways to observe creatures in the wild, then provide a notebook-style section to jot down any notes or reflections. The arrangement of the book is such that it could stoke readers' enthusiasm to get out into the world and start filling the allotted spaces with whatever they come across. It is a perfect way to encourage young students to take an interest in nature and gain an awareness of some of the issues that creatures in the forest are currently facing due to the actions of greedy individuals. It also demonstrates peaceful ways people can interact with their natural environment, which is a wonderful thing.

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