The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo
Told in the first person, this picture book is from the point of view of one bored little boy. He and his stuffed raccoon decide to play pirates. To do that you had to not only be sneaky but you also needed a prisoner, and his sister’s stuffed rabbit was quickly stolen and sent afloat in the lake. The boy was scolded and the now damp bunny was returned to his angry sister. The boy then spent time playing with his own toys, but soon his mother was asking if he’d taken the bunny again. He hadn’t but no one believed him and then his stuffed animal went missing too! It was a real mystery and now they had a real pirate on their hands.
Castillo takes a classic book of summer boredom and then picking on a sibling to a different and surprising place in this picture book. Children who are paying attention will notice a furry face that appears on almost every page in the background, a lurking raccoon who seems to want to get involved or maybe is having his own dull afternoon and is looking for some fun. This second little troublemaker adds a great amount of fun to the story. Even better, having dealt with raccoons invading my house and stealing my son’s stuffed animals up into their attic den, this all rings completely true.
Castillo’s signature art style is on display here. She manages to capture a timeless look on the page but also one that is modern and fresh. The tinge of blue on the stuffed raccoon make sure that children will not mix up the real and stuffed animals. The family’s home is well detailed, busy and filled with other natural touches.
A solid new title from Castillo that will work well for units or story times about pirates, siblings or raccoons. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.