Title: Beloved Rascals
Author: Sam Campbell
Series: Living Forest, book 10
Major Themes: Alberta, Banff, Canada, Lake Louise, Wisconsin, Family Read-alouds, Animal Stories
Synopsis: Many rascals of the animal world make their appearance in this poignant, funny book.
As we read through the Living Forest series, I was remembering one particular book, but wasn’t sure which one it was—it turned out to be the last one. Beloved Rascals has some very funny bits in it! There are also some serious chapters, and of course a lot of information about animals. I like the way Sam Campbell writes his books, with a family entering his and Giny’s lives for a season. That provides a way for him to teach nature lessons woven into a story.
As Sam and Giny are on their way back to the Sanctuary for the summer, they see a forest fire beginning. They call the fire fighters and stay on the scene until it is under control—and rescue a crow from the flames. Through the summer they care for him and several other animals in need. Then, they meet a new human family, through rather a funny series of events. The funniest part of this part of the story is the boy who mixed up his words—you won’t want to miss the description of “flawter wopping!”
Later in the summer, Sam and Giny take off for western Canada to take pictures in the Rocky Mountains. The people they meet there are worth reading about, too. The boy with his dog (and the cat that the dog had a feud with!) are fun, and then there’s the mystery about old Klondike. Were the stories about him real, or not? The result of Sam’s investigation is surprising!
The bottom line? If you enjoy animal stories, don’t miss this conclusion to a lovely series. This book is another good one to read aloud together. The environmentalist slant is pretty strong, but otherwise, it’s just a great story of people and animals.
WARNING: Chapter 1 describes a forest fire, in which some animals must be destroyed. In chapter 2, Sam said, “I swear he winked….”. In chapter 21, a man says, “Hanged if I….” In chapter 22, someone else says, “I swear….”
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15