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Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories Hardcover – August 15, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3—When Chester returns home from school, he tells his mother that the teacher said Skiddil Squirrel had an accident and would not be coming back. Mrs. Raccoon explains that his classmate's "heart quit beating and his body didn't work any more." She comforts her sad child by suggesting that he "make a memory of Skiddil Squirrel." The two start out for the squirrel's favorite place, and other animal friends join them. At the butterfly pond, Chester tells stories about how Skiddil loved butterflies and how he buried acorns for winter, but never found them. When Mrs. Raccoon points to a grove of young oak trees, Chester exclaims, "The forest made a Skiddil Squirrel memory!" Then he picks up an acorn to take home with him. Simple, direct dialogue demonstrates the love between this mother and child. Bright, stylized illustrations on high-gloss pages depict the animals with human emotions, convey warmth, and reinforce the text. Despite the tough subject, this fifth book in the series that began with The Kissing Hand (Child Welfare League of America, 1993) has a reassuring tone and provides an opening for a discussion on death and remembering loved ones.—Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press (August 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933718293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933718293
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started my first career as a ballerina dancing with the National Ballet, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and the Danny Diamond Dance Theatre. I also served as alignist and choreographer for the U.S Figure Skating Team in preparation for the Pan American Games (1973), and for the 1976 Olympic Gymnastics team. In 1980 I became too ill with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) to continue dancing. Because I had done a lot of children's theatre and children's dance, and I have always enjoyed children's literature, I turned to writing children's books for my creative outlet.


But my writing career actually began much earlier than 1980. When I was a young girl, I had two older brothers who took great joy in teasing me.

When I was in the fourth grade, I began keeping journals of the silly things they would say and do. Then I began adding things my pets did. Finally, I began to write down everything I saw and heard every day.

When I was in my early twenties, my mother found my journals and I turned the stories into my first book called, Happy Apple Told Me. But, I learned a very hard lesson writing that first book. I learned that you don't just write a book; you rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite a book. Thirty years later, I am still learning.

My passionate advocacy for children continually molds my writing style and subject matter. I have taken my one-woman educational program, The Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children's hospitals, where I shape and refine my story ideas in partnership with kids.


My favorite part about being a children's author is meeting my readers when I speak at a school or at a store. I get so many wonderful ideas from you, and you, and you. So, thank you for your inspired ideas, and letters, and emails. Now, it's your turn to keep a journal.

I live with my husband, my youngest daughter (who inspired The Kissing Hand), and two dogs in Olney, Maryland. We have three children and one foster child.

Customer Reviews

The illustrations are beautiful.
Shirley A. Renaud
A very touching book by Audrey Penn the was illustrated by Barbara Gibson.
kidathrt
This is a wonderful book to help deal with a difficult situation.
JW87

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SmartMomma on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
We have most of the books in the Kissing Hand series, so when my 5 yr old daughter picked this one out at their school book fair, I didn't bother to turn it over and read what it was about. Mistake on my part. When I sat down to read it to my 2 & 5 yr olds I was shocked to read that Chester's little friend had an "accident" and died and wouldn't be coming back to school.
It had a very touching message about making memories, but it was very sad, and these are not typically the types of books I read to my little girls before bed. It is definatly not a book we will read over and over, maybe save it again for later when they are older or if the situation unfortunatly, arrises. I know death is a fact of life, however, my 5 year old was a bit disturbed on the fact that a young squirrel died, I would have rather them have an older animal pass on, then maybe we wouldn't have taken it so badly.

I would like to add that this is nothing against the auther, it was wonderfully illistrated and very well written as are all the other books in this series, I simply wrote this review so everyone was VERY CLEAR on what the subject matter was, and suggest saving the purchase for when this unfortunate subject has to come up in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Barker on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My jaw dropped when I opened this book. From the start the illustrations enfold the reader and sweep you right into an expertly written story that is as tender and touching as it is consoling and healing. The prose is always only soothing and motherly and not the least bit syrupy or patronizing.

Here's the breakdown:

Characters: Chester and his mother quickly resonate with the young reader especially in their dialog where Mother Raccoon is soothing and reassuring, wise and nurturing.

Events / Story Line: This story line is remarkable in that it offers children a practical means to work out their mourning; something constructive to do when a little one feels helpless.

Illustrations: Awesome. I like the full page illustrations. They really underscore the soothing tone of the story while dealing with a somber subject and offering hope.

Reader relevance: I think this is a book that little ones will appreciate, giving them an outlet for their emotions and something to create and hang onto with regard to their deceased loved one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Talalay on December 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Penn
Ages 4-851wf0g3-o8l_sl500_aa240_
Tanglewood Press (August 25, 2009)
Cautions: This story deals with the death of a young friend

Kiwi Magazine Review:
The author of the Kissing Hand really has a way with words. Adults will find comfort in sharing this book with a child who has lost a friend. Although the topic is a difficult one, Audrey Penn guides the story with her gentle touch and adds a cup of comfort to the sad story of the death of Skiddil Squirrel. Helping the reader focus on all of the lovely memories of their friend and remember him forever in their hearts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan W. Flake on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy using Chester Raccoon stories with my first graders because the author uses Chesters Mom to help students with changes in their lives (going to school, moving). She is very wise. In this book Mother Raccoon helps Chester understand about death. It is gently written and would be good for reading to a child, but I would not recommend it for whole class reading since it deals with death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kris Foxx on June 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book and the two other Chester Books, for a friend for her Grandson. He was thrilled. I babysat for him about a week after they arrived and while I was getting him dressed for bed, he remembered the new books and dragged me over to the bookcase to find them. He loves them! The books teach kids how to deal with feelings and interact with others. They are wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
[This review also appears on Andi's Kids Books.]

In Audrey Penn's Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories, Chester is yet again learning a tough life lesson. At school, his Owl Teacher tells the students that Skiddil Squirrel had an accident and won't be coming back to school. He doesn't understand what this means. So, Mrs. Raccoon tries to explain to him what it means that Skiddil died. Chester understandably becomes very upset and wants to still play with his friend. Mrs. Raccoon recommends that he do something to create a memory of his lost friend. Because Skiddil liked butterflies and acorns, the two of them trek down to the butterfly pond with Chester's brother, Ronny, and his best friend, Cassy. More and more of their other animal friends join them along the way.

When they arrive at the pond, there are dozens of butterflies flitting about. Mrs. Raccoon asks Chester to share some of his favorite memories of Skiddil. One of those memories is about Skiddil burying a bunch of acorns near the pond, but forgetting where he had planted them. Mrs. Raccoon points out a small group of oak trees that are just starting to grow. Chester exclaims that the forest has made a Skiddil Squirrel memory. He finds an acorn lying on the ground near the trees and decides to take it home as a tangible memory of his beloved friend. Before leaving, he puts a Kissing Hand on each new tree trunk, thanking Skiddil for having been his friend.

This book brought tears to my eyes. Death is difficult to handle at any age. For children, though, it is even more difficult. It just doesn't make any sense to them. And the death of a child, from an accident or otherwise, is even more difficult for all to bear.
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