The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
You've heard of the Yeti, Bigfoot or Sasquatch, and the Loch Ness Monster, but have you heard of the Sugar Man? The legendary Sugar Man, with, "legs and arms like the new cedar trees," and, "hands as wide and big as palmetto ferns," has taken care of the Texas bayou swamp for longer than anyone can remember. Now, old and sleepy, the Sugar Man relies on the scouts, two newly independent raccoon brothers, J'miah and Bingo, to wake him from his deep slumber if danger arises in the swamp.
And boy, oh boy, is there danger coming!
Wild hogs! That's right, wild hogs, a family of 17 mean, hungry, and just plain nasty hogs are making their way towards the swamp to eat and destroy all the wild sugarcane the swamp can offer. Attempting to do their best, J'miah and Bingo must find a way to wake the sleeping giant, the Sugar Man, before it is too late.
Little do the raccoon scouts know, there are more than just hogs threatening the swamp. Sonny Boy Beaucoup, the hummer-driving, thin-sock-wearing, land ownder of the swamp, wishes to close down Paradise Pies Cafe and pave over the wild bayou and make it an alligator wrestling theme park.
Chap Brayburn, a 6 foot tall twelve year old, whose mother runs the cafe, and whose late grandfather taught him to love and care for the swamp, is trying to be the man of the house and find the boatload of money needed to keep the cafe open.
So who will win? Will the swamp be saved in time from the hogs and the theme park? Will the Sugar Man wake up in time, and if he does, what kind of mood will he be in? Will Bingo and J'miah live up to their title of scouts? And will Chap save the family cafe?
Told with a true southern tone, kids will find this books funny, adventurous, and heartwarming all at once. A great read-aloud with short chapters, and remarkable characters that will make anyone fall in love with the bayou and pesky raccoons. This is a new personal favorite that has charmed its way into my heart.