Book Title

Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Racoon
Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Two
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press, August 25, 2015
Early chapter book, ISBN 978-0763668860

Francine Poulet is the greatest animal control officer in Gizzford County. She hails from a long line of Animal Control Officers. She’s battled snakes, outwitted squirrels, and stared down a bear. "The genuine article," Francine’s dad always called her. She is never scared—until, that is, she’s faced with a screaming raccoon that may or may not be a ghost. Maybe Francine isn’t cut out to be an animal control officer after all! But the raccoon is still on the loose, and the folks on Deckawoo Drive need Francine back. Can she face her fears, round up the raccoon, and return to the ranks of Animal Control? Join a cast of familiar characters—Frank, Stella, Mrs. Watson, and Mercy the porcine wonder—for some riotous raccoon wrangling on Deckawoo Drive.

Read the Reviews
Fans of Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (2014) will relish this new tale, which successfully expands the core of the Mercy Watson series while offering generous cameos from the original characters, as well as much buttered toast. No one offers early readers better quality prose than DiCamillo, who never allows the constrictions of this format to deter her from excellent writing: "Franny, you are the genuine article. You are solid. You are certain. You are like a refrigerator. You hum." Series illustrator Van Dusen’s artwork (not seen in final form) is a treat, as always, reflecting the quirkiness of DiCamillo’s unique cast of characters. Francine Poulet will wrangle readers’ hearts along with rascally wildlife in this standout early chapter book."

Welcome back to the world of Mercy Watson and friends! In this installment, the fearless and unflappable Francine Poulet, animal control officer extraordinaire, is called upon by the bejeweled Mrs. Bissinger to capture a screaming, ghostly raccoon. When Francine faces the raccoon, she unexpectedly panics and ends up in the hospital. Her self-confidence lost, she resigns her position because she no longer knows who she is. "She was not an animal control officer. And she was not a Poulet, because Poulets never panic." Then she meets Frank, an observant boy who not only knows the whereabouts of the still-at-large raccoon but encourages her to face her fears and live up to her true calling, to remember "she was the genuine article … solid as a refrigerator." Encouraging readers to believe in themselves, this short chapter book pairs illustrations on almost every page with brisk dialogue and short, descriptive sentences. With plenty of white space and a large font the title is tailor-made for young readers transitioning to chapter books and will be enjoyed by "Mercy Watson" (Candlewick) fans and new readers alike. VERDICT: A worthy addition to the series.

New readers ready for a challenge and some laughs will welcome more characters from Deckawoo Drive.

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