Fun Youth Novel: True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt

For raccoon lovers -- think Raccoon Tune by Nancy Shaw and Rascal by Sterling North -- this book is a rare find indeed. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt, stars raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah, the latest recruits to the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The chance to serve the Sugar Man -- who rules the swamp and loves sugarcane -- is an honor and a huge responsibility. The story unfolds as wild feral hogs and developers threaten the swamp, yet Sugar Man can't seem to wake up. The raccoon brothers are particularly memorable, as are a host of other characters including 12-year-old Chap Brayburn and Gertrude the rattlesnake. This highly imaginative, fast-paced book was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Kathi Appelt has won many other awards and may be best known for her book The Underneath.