True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Atheneum July 2013
Language Arts Curriculum

"Now  the night was bright and the stars threw light
On  Billy and Davy dancin' in the moonlight"
--  Bruce Springsteen, "Spirit in the Night"
"In  that bright new moment of the night, Bingo had one thing on his mind,
one  singular sensation: climb.
"J'miah  had one thing on his mind too: prevent Bingo from meeting the same
fate as Great  Uncle Banjo.  It was an unsettling thought, one that made
him imagine two  different options.  The first option was to climb up  after
Bingo.  With a shiver, he quickly erased that thought out of his  mind.
"But  the second option was almost as bad: to stand at the bottom of the
tree and  catch Bingo if he fell.  That gave J'miah a vision of two flattened
raccoons.  Rather like a stack of stripy pancakes, without the butter and
"Then  it occurred to him that he had a third option.  He would just pull
his  invisible thinking cap so far over his eyes that he would not be able to
see  Bingo's death-defying climb at all.  That way, if his brother fell,
J'miah  would be spared the horror of witnessing it, and also would not be
forced to try  to save him.  Although he had to admit that it was a somewhat
cowardly  option, it seemed like the most reasonable course of action.
"Sadly,  none of J'miah's thoughts slowed Bingo down."
Excuse  me.  I'm going to head off on a tangent here for a minute.
These  days, I'm living communally with a bunch of young folks, most of
whom  are spending chunks of the summer attending various music-filled  "tribal
gatherings" around California and beyond.  In a weaker moment  yesterday, I
got talked into going online and buying a ticket for a  four-day "tribal
gathering" happening over a weekend a ways  up north of here.  This is a new
one for me.  I'm not sure what to  expect, but the website tells me that "In
the embrace of a majestic redwood  forest we celebrate our culture through
dance, art, nature and the unyielding  gift of the human spirit."  Okay,
then.  All righty.
I  asked my young housemates what I'll need to pack, and I scribbled down
a list of what they advised.  Then, a bit later, I got a text from one  of
my housemates further advising me that I might consider bringing  along some
books and offering story times over the weekend.  A couple of  minutes
later, this was followed by another text suggesting that  I paint a "StoryTime
with Richie" sign and "put whatever time you want to  read at...wherever you
want in the forest."
So  now I'm understanding that I am to become part of creating this
celebration.  That's cool.  But my next thought is: Well, what's  something
amazing that I can bring to read, something that will astound a  mixed audience of
young kids and grown-up kids who are celebrating nature  and the human
spirit amidst a majestic redwood forest?
And  it must have been my golden day yesterday, because just like
clockwork, the UPS  guy shows up at that very moment with an advance copy of THE TRUE
BLUE  SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP which (having now spent all today reading
it)  is so darn good that I'm now totally psyched about painting a  StoryTime
sign and getting to sit there in the majestic redwoods reading this  one
aloud all weekend to whatever kids, critters, and random spirits happen to
feel like coming by and listening.
Here's  why THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP has made me a happy
camper and  now becomes my favorite book of this year:
It  is LMAO funny.  There is smart humor and goofy humor and physical humor
and  hyperbole and hysterical twists and turns of phrase.
It  is filled with great language, words like aught, denizen, procyonid,
falderal, Alouicious, extant, peccaries, ruminations, milieu, cryptid, and
It  is a noisy book, crafted with a wealth of onomatopoeia that is  both
powerfully descriptive and really entertaining.
There  are pirates and rowdy sea chanteys and canebrake rattlesnakes
(Crotalus  horridus giganticus) and lullabies.
There  are three really important, somewhat interrelated, environmental
There  is a wonderful twelve year-old boy character,  Chaparral Brayburn,
who has to deal both with the bad guys  and with those raucous raccoon
There is  an amazing development of interconnections between a sixteenth
century  conquistador, a bunch of evil hogs, and a rusted-out, somewhat
magical  car.
"His  instinct was to head for the hills, but are there any hills in the
swamp?   We think you can answer that question all by yourself.  Poor Leroy
was  stuck."
This  one left me as wired as a great rock concert.  I've preordered my
finished  copy.  Now I'm wanting to know where I can get one of the tour tee

384 pages  Ages 9-12  978-1-4424-2105-9

Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS
See more of his recommendations at:  Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ (

ALSC Tween Recommended Reads

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