By CJ HarderOct 19, 2022
Book cover: Courtesy of Owlkids Books
If you live in the city or have ever visited, you’re more than familiar with its notorious raccoons. These furry fiends, dubbed “trash pandas” by some, have been spotted doing everything from stealing donuts from a local coffee shop to scaling a 700-ft crane to get a better view as he, ahem, does his business. And, of course, tipping over your garbage cans.
And while some residents find them to be a nuisance, one Canadian author is trying to change the narrative around these fuzzy creatures. Vivek Shraya, a seven-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, is excited to share her new children’s book Revenge of the Raccoons. And it’s a highly relatable story that you’ll actually enjoy reading with your kids over and over again!
The adorable rhyming tale paints a story of the mischief that Toronto raccoons have been known to get into—from climbing up buildings and down chimneys to taking a ride on subway cars and getting in trouble with the city’s police. Little ones will love pointing out all of the famous Toronto landmarks, captured in colourful, eye-catching illustrations by Juliana Neufeld. And we love that it showcases the city’s diverse population because #WeTheNorth.
Behind the hilarious and (sometimes dangerous) hijinx though, the book also reminds us that raccoons aren’t the invaders—we are. It highlights the destruction of the raccoons’ natural habitat that has taken place over the last several decades to make way for housing. And how we’ve taken over the city, leaving little room for these otherwise innocent creatures to live and find food.
It’s a great way to start the conversation about our effect on the environment and how we need to learn to share space and resources with both neighbours and critters. Plus, it’s a fun way to show little ones to not be afraid of these fluffy climbers! They’re really not that much different from us—they’re just looking for a safe place to curl up for the day and some food to keep their babes’ fed.
With a vast body of work that spans multiple different genres such as music, visual art, theatre, literature, and more, Vivek is excited to add Revenge of The Raccoons to her impressive library. After working on the book for four years, Vivek tweeted “...It’s a real joy to see this book out in the world at last.”