I started this book a while ago, but then got side tracked. Remembering I had liked it, I started it all over again. It's only slightly mortifying that I was thoroughly enjoying it when I started noticing that the writing felt familiar to me. At first I assumed it because I had read it before. But that feeling persisted. I knew this style. I knew this writing. Then I started to recognize places, and the names of characters. Can it be I asked myself?
A quick check to the front of the book showed me that, Yes! the author was Kate DiCamillo. I've had this book on my device for so long I'd forgotten why I had it in the first place.
This is the story of Francine, an animal control officer extraordinaire. She's got forty seven trophies proving that she's fearless and never fails to catch her creature, no matter how big or how fierce. Then one day she is beaten by a screaming, glowing raccoon. Poor Francine ends up in the hospital with many injuries after this encounter. Yet it's not her physical wounds that are her undoing. Francine has felt fear and doubt for the first time. It has paralyzed her.
She quits her job and finds another position in the local hardware store. Francine tells herself that she is content. After all, she is killing hundreds of flies a day. Then two children from Deckawoo Drive come to the store and recognize her. With their help, Francine finds her old self and the courage to face the raccoon down.
What I liked
I liked Francine. I liked the connection to Mercy Watson and the quirky characters on Deckawoo Drive. Fans of that series who are ready for reading a bit more challenging material are sure to enjoy this. I think my readers will feel empathy for Francine. At the same time she will help them learn to overcome their fears.
What I didn't like
My netgalley copy didn't have completed illustrations. This make me sad because Chris Van Dusen's illustrations are the icing on the cake of this DiCamillo series. This is the only one placed in the book. You see what I mean?