US Review of Books: Rocky The Respectful Raccoon and His Red Sunglasses

US Review of Books: Rocky The Respectful Raccoon and His Red Sunglasses

Congratulations to Rocky The Respectful Raccoon and His Red Sunglasses written by  Janet H. Councilman for receiving a RECOMMENDED rating from the US Review of Books.

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Read the entire review below:


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“We should do our best to treat each other in a respectful way each day.”

Rocky is a happy raccoon living in Old Oak Woods with lots of friends and a supportive community. His only problem is that he is the lone raccoon, and the black mask around his eyes makes him feel strange and different from the other animals. One day, he finds a pair of red sunglasses and puts them on to hide his black mask that won’t come off even when he scrubs it. He doesn’t really know how to talk about his feelings about himself until the animals gather for a Thanksgiving feast, and someone asks Rocky what’s bothering him. Once Rocky shares how uncomfortable he is with the way he looks because he is different, all the animals share something about themselves that makes them who they are. A birds simple song, a rabbits lopped ears, and a squirrels notched ear are all unique characteristics of Rocky’s friends. They help him see that these things make them all unique and special. And Uncle Feathers reminds them all to always treat others with respect by not saying unkind words that can hurt.

rocky the respectful raccoon

In this picture book for children, good behavior is modeled through the character of Rocky the Raccoon. His only nemesis is himself coupled with the negative self-talk that makes him feel bad about the way he looks. When he advocates for himself at the end of the story, he is rewarded and validated by his friends. This is a powerful lesson for young children to see in action through Rocky’s story. Not only will children learn how to treat others but also how to treat themselves by opening up to others when they feel bad about something. School districts all over the country are looking for ways to teach social and emotional learning (SEL) or soft skills like respect, empathy, resilience, and curiosity. Many schools are using organizations like CASEL, which breaks SEL down into broad categories like social awareness, self-management, and relationship skills. What they have created through SEL curriculum and activities, librarians and teachers have been doing for years with stories like Rocky’s that allow children to see social and emotional traits being used or learned through experiences and consequences.

Storytelling is a powerful tool to help students consider good behavior models that will stick because a particular desired trait is attached to a lovable character like Rocky. Adding to children’s delight are the lovely illustrations that accompany his tale of learning to love himself and to respect all people through kind behavior. Drawn with authentic natural scenes of woodland animals animated with joy, Councilman’s colorful renderings bring Rocky and his friends to life as they share their daily lives and a final feast in celebration of Thanksgiving. Of special note, Councilman chooses not to demonstrate the character trait respect by showing its opposite through some villain such as a bully, a wolf, or some other woodland creature bent on cruelty. Instead, the animals model respect through their actions, which children will be able to cite as clear examples of what showing respect really looks like in action. The animals greet each other kindly and encourage each other. They help out during the feast, and they talk about how they are feeling. The character trait is enforced by seeing positive examples of it carried out in daily life, making the transference from story to real-life achievable.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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