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The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (2013)

af Kathi Appelt

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4213060,074 (4.13)20
Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn, ancient Sugar Man, and his raccoon-brother Swamp Scouts Bingo and J'miah try to save Bayou Tourterelle from feral pigs Clydine and Buzzie, greedy Sunny Boy Beaucoup, and world-class alligator wrestler and would-be land developer Jaeger Stitch.
  1. 00
    Bayou Magic af Jewell Parker Rhodes (beelrami)
    beelrami: Both stories about a beloved swamp and outsiders effect on it.
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This is a tall tale about a swamp in Texas guarded by a cryptid (look it up, sports fans) called the Sugar Man. As the title suggests, the swamp is looked after by scouts. These scouts are named J'miah and Bingo and they're young raccoons.

Also inhabiting the swamp is a young boy named Chap. Chap's just lost his beloved grandpa and to make matter worse, some greedy folks are trying to shut down his family's pie shop and pave over the swamp so they can build an alligator wrestling arena. (Oh, the pies! Boy did this book make me hungry. I don't even really know what fried sugar pie is, but I want one. I suppose I'd have to go to Texas to get that special canebrake sugar they're made from.)

No one can question Appelt's ability to turn a phrase. My issue with her previous books was that her writing can be too repetitive and a little too proud of itself. Often I felt the words and sentences were beautiful, but didn't serve the story or young readers. Well, I can't really complain about this book. It was fun! It had some of the same appeal for me that last year's [b:Three Times Lucky|11737313|Three Times Lucky|Sheila Turnage|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1335476936s/11737313.jpg|16686499] did. Both are a little magical and full of southern charm.

I listened to the audio book, which was narrated by Lyle Lovett. He was a bit stiff in the beginning, but then warmed up to the narrator's voice and was really kicking booty by the end. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
children's fiction/fantasy; racoons/animals. Old Bayou swamp story that begs to be read aloud (helpful if you know something about French pronunciation). ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah have a mission: as the Official Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, they must wake the legendary Sugar Man in an emergency.

And this is definitely an emergency.

The Farrow gang, a family of 17 wild hogs, is on the loose and causing a dangerous rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble as they pound toward the giant crop of sugarcane in the swamp.

But little do the raccoon scouts know, the Farrow gang isn’t the swamp’s only enemy. There’s also Sonny Boy Beaucoup, a Hummer-driving tycoon who wants to close down Paradise Pies Café, cut down all the trees, and build a theme park on top of the swamp.

Twelve-year old Chap Brayburn, whose mother runs the café and whose late grandfather taught him to lovelovelove the swamp, is meanwhile trying to man up and find the money to keep the café open.

Who will win out in the end? The hogs? The humans in the Hummer? Will Chap find the money to save the café? Will the raccoon brothers wake up the Sugar Man in time to stop the Farrow gang? Or will this be the end of the swamp and everyone in it?

Grown-up portion of review:

Appelt nails a folksy, sort of bluesy voice. With direct addresses to the readers (as "sisters and brothers," "sports fans," and other colloquialisms), repeated onomatopeia (there is a constant rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble in the swamp; the rattlesnakes are known for their snip-snap-zip-zap), and crowd-hyping extras ("Did we say that the superstretch Hummer seated twenty-four? Why, yes. Yes, we did." or "Had she given them the rattlesnake lullaby? No, she most definitely had not."), the book is a read-aloud gem.

But also? Some of the folksiness is created by frequent diversions that turn out to be dead ends. And although Appelt did bring a whole bunch of puzzle pieces together at the end, I still felt like there were a few extra ones that never quite made it into the big picture. It's almost like there were two novels going on here, and the chapters got mixed together and even connected with clever segues, but they still only marginally had to do with each other.

One more gripe: there is so much Yowzers! and Whew! that the book manages to be neither plot- nor character-driven, but is more...talk-driven? Maybe I'd prefer the audio, which I've been told is read by Lyle Lovett. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
It was with much trepidation that I picked up this novel. Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath made me ugly-cry and left me depressed and heart-sore (although it is an excellent book for that very reason) and I was not eager to engage in a book that would cause emotions again.
However, I was pleasantly surprised. Told with a folk-tale vibe, along with exclamations and onomatopoeia and funny little quips, this story follows two raccoons who have the illustrations job of being Scouts for the Sugar Man. The Sugar Man rules the swamp, a creature of lore and legend, who guards the swamp and enjoys the particular sugarcane that grows in the damp low soil.
When the swamp is threated by unscrupulous land developers, the scouts, along with unintended help by a local boy, search for the Sugar Man.
The adventure, the character growth, the well-drawn atmosphere of the swamp, the real trouble the characters find themselves facing, all create a story fun to read for children. This book would be particularly suited to reading aloud, for all the fun works and exclamations it includes.
Recommend for mid-late elementary children and older, and worth reading for adults as well. ( )
  empress8411 | Sep 18, 2018 |
I loved the setting and the characters - the bayou came alive for me and the raccoon scouts were funny and appealing. The folksy narrative style was a bit distracting, but I got used to it and ended up enjoying it. This wasn't laugh out loud funny. It was a leisurely and charmingly humorous read.

However, I am very sad that there is no recipe for sugar pie. I know, I know, it won't be the same without fresh sugar cane from Sugar Man Swamp, but after all those descriptions of their deliciousness, I want some! ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
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Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn, ancient Sugar Man, and his raccoon-brother Swamp Scouts Bingo and J'miah try to save Bayou Tourterelle from feral pigs Clydine and Buzzie, greedy Sunny Boy Beaucoup, and world-class alligator wrestler and would-be land developer Jaeger Stitch.

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