The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

by Kathi Appelt and Jennifer Bricking

Young raccoon brothers Bingo and J'Miah, are scouts in the bayou's Sugar Man Swamp,... read more

Young raccoon brothers Bingo and J'Miah, are scouts in the bayou's Sugar Man Swamp, where they monitor the Voice of Intelligence in the rusted-out DeSoto in which they live (lightning occasionally charges the car's radio). If there's a threat, they're to awaken the Sugar Man, a Sasquatch-like creature who's been sleeping for sixty years. Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn wonders how he's going to come up with the money Sonny Boy Beaucoup is demanding for Chap and his mom to stay in their home. Sonny Boy, meanwhile, is joining forces with North American gator-wrestling champ Jaeger Stitch to start a "Gator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park." Dreaming of fortune, Sonny Boy has decided to disregard the blood oath his ancestor swore to protect the swamp or face the wrath of the Sugar Man. Chap wishes he could show people how special the swamp is. He could if he had the photo his late grandpa, Audie, took of an ivory-billed woodpecker back in 1949, but it was lost along with Audie's prized DeSoto during a terrible flood years before. There's little doubt all will end well in Kathi Appelt's delightful novel that moves back and forth among these and other interconnected stories. But rich writing steeped in the oral tradition and unexpected twists and turns make the journey a pleasure. Expressive language, a deeply rooted sense of place, and distinct and memorable characters are all part of the magic in a novel full of humor that speaks to the power of legend, and to the possibilities when good hearts prove strongest. (Ages 8-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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