Kate Di Camillo’s newly-published “ghost” story features the fearless, self-assured Animal Control Officer of Deckawoo Drive, Francine Poulet.
In performing her duties Officer Francine has courageously outwitted squirrels, battled snakes and dealt with many other animals. She has even stared down a bear – without blinking!
Now, however, Francine is dealing with a serious loss of confidence – as well as some injuries. She has been called to capture a screaming raccoon on the roof of a home on Deckawoo Drive - a “shimmering” raccoon which may or may not be a ghost!
For the first time in her life, brave Francine is afraid.
In fact, she is very, very afraid, and it appears that Francine may have finally met her match when she tumbles off the three-storey roof in surprise and panic after hearing the raccoon scream her name.
Francine recovers from her fall after a time but is mired in self-doubt. Is she really cut out to be an animal control officer? Does she truly have what the job requires?
How the courage and self-esteem of Officer Poulet is restored and the raccoon is captured is a satisfying conclusion to a charming tale.
Readers will chuckle at the wacky plot of this story and its quirky characters (as well as their names) – and the equally quirky illustrations of Chris Van Dusen - while being encouraged to face up to their own fears and to believe in themselves.
With its short chapters and larger print font this book is an excellent choice for early chapter-book readers, who may recall Francine from her appearance in DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig.
The first title in the entertaining Tales from Deckawoo Drive series is Leroy NInker Saddles Up.
** Recommended for ages 6 to 9 years.

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