Author Judy Schachner is probably most well known for her Skippyjon Jones books. But she's actually written many others, with her latest one being Dewey Bob.
My copy of Dewey Bob was actually a gift from a teacher/friend/blogger. I met Lyn (from Pennsylvania) a couple of summers ago when she came out to Vancouver Island to visit one of her sons who happened to be working about 50 km north of where I live. We met up with Sandi (from Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes) and spent a beautiful afternoon together getting to know one another.
Lyn saw the Skippyjon Jones paintings my kids did just before her class had a visit from Judy Schachner. Happily for my class and me, Lyn sent us a surprise, autographed copy of Dewey Bob!
You can imagine our excitement:) The kids were amazed that someone from clear across the continent and from another country to boot, would just up and send us a gift.
So thank you, Lyn! It's meeting sweet, kind people like you who make blogging all worthwhile.
Title: Dewey Bob
Author & Illustrator: Judy Schachner
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015, Fiction
Suitable for ages 4-9
Themes/Topics: Raccoons, Friendship, Empathy
Opening: "Dewey Bob Crockett was born in the pocket of an old pair of pants. And when he got too big for his britches, Dewey knew what he had to do."
Brief Synopsis (from Judy Schachner's website): Dewey Bob Crockett is a durn cute raccoon who lives by himself in a house filled to the brim with the wonderful objects he collects. Buttons, wheels, furniture and bricabrac adorn his cozy quarters and keep him busy as he finds and fixes, turning trash into treasures. But there’s something missing from Dewey’s collections—a friend! He tries gathering up some critters and bringing them home in his shopping cart, but that doesn’t work out so well. In the end, a friend does come Dewey’s way, and, with a little DIY help from this clever raccoon, returns again and again.
Resources: Here's a short video of Judy explaining how she came to write Dewey Bob. She has a very interesting process that involves a year's worth of journalling and image collecting.
This book is a natural stepping stone into the world of raccoons. You could do a whole non-fiction study of the cute little guys, and include the Chester books by Audrey Penn. In fact, I think a Raccoon Unit would be the perfect way to start the Grade 1 year!
Since Dewey Bob is a great collector, it would be fun to talk about any collections the kids might have and to share them at school. The collections could be graphed, sorted, counted and used for pattern making.
Dewey Bob has a rather unorthodox way of making friends: He tries to gather them up the same way he collects objects. It doesn't work, of course, so it's the perfect opportunity to discuss better ways of making new friends.
Why I Like This Book: The book isn't funny the way the Skippyjon Jones books are, but my class and I still loved it! It has a sweet, gentle feel to it. With its many emotional themes (leaving home, feeling lonely, making a new friend, helping someone in need) it tugs on your heart strings in a very appealing way. The bright, friendly artwork is engaging, too. In Judy's words, "The illustrations for this book were created in acrylics, gouache, collage, mixed media, and the kitchen sink."
I hope you check out Dewey Bob. I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do!
If you'd like to read about more fantastic picture books, check out Susanna's Perfect Picture Book Friday linky.