Title: Kildee House
Author: Rutherford Montgomery
Major Themes: Raccoons, Relationships, Skunks
Synopsis: Jerome Kildee moves to a house deep in the forest on a mountain in California, looking for peace, but his house is overrun by raccoons and skunks.
I have read Kildee House aloud three times now, I believe, and enjoyed it each time. My children love it, too.
Jerome Kildee has retired from a lifetime of working as a stonemason. He built himself a house against a giant redwood tree in the California mountains, and after building his fireplace, secreted his stone-cutting tools forever in a special hiding place. He moved there alone, but soon had many friends—a pair of raccoons, a pair of skunks, and a girl who lived on the other side of the mountain. He also had an enemy—a boy who lived on the other side of him from the girl.
After the raccoons and skunks had families, and their children had families, what would happen to Jerome? The animals were taking up all the space in his house—what would happen if the skunks got nervous about the raccoons? And what about the feud between his two young neighbors? Were there any easy solutions to these problems?
The animals make a lovely story, setting the stage for the story of the relationships between Jerome and his human neighbors, as they try—or don’t—to work out their problems. This is quite a complicated story, with several levels. All ages will enjoy it, at their own level of understanding.
WARNING: In Chapter 3 a raccoon is killed, and the boy is threatened. Chapter 5 page 74 and chapter 11 page 174 have the word golly. Chapter 5 page 81, chapter 8 page 131, and chapter 10 page 158 use variations of darned.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12