Score: 93/100 (9.3 out of 10)
Raccoons Go Rafting is a cute, fun, and easy-to-follow children's book by Rachel Vogel, illustrated by Anthony Richichi. The book follows six adventurous and sometimes goofy raccoons—Buzzball, Bandit, Riptail, Buddy, Professor, and Nugget—as they take on the rapids of the Hudson River on their raft.
First of all, the characters will immediately grip you and your children—they're raccoons after all! There's just something about raccoons that's so appealing. It's a mixture of cuteness and the expectation of silly, clumsy shenanigans that naturally comes with these kinds of animals. This is why we love huskies, pandas, and other furry creatures that like to get themselves caught in predicaments, or who have two left feet.
The other thing that was a welcomed sight was Anthony Richichi's art. Richichi has established himself as one of the most familiar figures in our contests, the illustrator of about a half-dozen of these books. Richichi is especially good at bringing animals to life on the page. Now, this book may not contain his most stellar or spectacular illustrations.
It might have a lot to do with the scale of the background in relation to the size of the characters. The characters are always very small and the backgrounds/settings are always very large. Because of that, we get a more distant and perhaps more detached perspective of these characters. It also leads to the characters not looking as refined as they might otherwise be. It almost seems at times that the characters are so far away that Richichi didn't have a fine enough pencil to detail certain aspects of them. Another thing we noticed is that it almost seems like a lot of the figures in this book seem slanted to the right for some reason, making them appear slightly wonky or unrefined.
With that said, Richichi is still able to capture the personality and expressions of these raccoons. They're reactions and facial expressions are so much fun to see. What's also special is that not all of the raccoons react in exactly the same way. There are times when one is enamored with a situation while the others are not. There are times when one is sleepy while the others are not. There are times when one is hungry while the others are not. There are times when one is scared, concerned, or apprehensive while the others are not.
This book, despite being so short in both page and word length, has a lot to offer. Your kids will love flipping through this dozens of times, reacting to situations while the raccoons do.
Something else we could appreciate is that the book is extremely minimalist and simple, especially when it comes to the writing. Each page contains only one sentence or part of a sentence. It follows the familiar formula of a book like Go, Dog, Go!
Some of our favorite moments of this book are when the blue-vested raccoon reacts to the moose and when the deer reacts to one of the raccoons doing their business in the trees.
This is a cute, fun, and enjoyable children's book.
Check it out on Amazon!