Maybe my reading life could be better than this, but jeepers creepers, I doubt it. No sooner did I finish listening to Lyle Lovett reading The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, I immediately started in all over again!
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I don't love about this book!
I love, love, love the characters: Bingo and J'miah, the faithful scouts; Chap, the grieving boy, trying to be a man, his departed Grandfather Audie, and his mother, renowned for her fried sugar pies; Sweetums, their cat who doesn't understand why his owners don't speak Catalian; Coyoteman Jim, the radio announcer and voice of intelligence; and the Sugar Man and his faithful rattlesnake, Gertrude, who guard the swamp. I even love those nasty characters: the feral hogs, Clydine, Buzzie and the rest of their baddest gang in history: the Farrow Gang; and Sonny Boy Beaucoup, the owner and scoundrel who, along with champion gator wrestler, Jaeger Stitch, plan to turn Sugar Man Swamp into a gator wrestling theme park.
I love the writing: part tall tale, part magical realism, part fantasy, part oral tradition. It begs to be read out loud, and I’m telling you, holy moly! Lyle Lovett is absolutely the perfect person for the job!
I love that there is serious business going on behind the folksy humour. It sneaks in a lesson or two on environmental stewardship, on greed, and even on belief and where it comes from.
The only thing missing is sugar pies to go along with it. I wonder if Kathi Appelt has a recipe on her website?