Monday, March 11, 2013

Raccoon Tales--A Great New Children's Book

Into New Waters By Guest Blogger Joy DeKok
It took me ten years to get Raccoon Tales, my current e-book release, into publication--and another four to catch it up with current technology. Waiting is hard for me, but I’m also a bit on the tenacious side.

So were the baby raccoons I wrote the book about. When they came into our lives, they were completely helpless. Only a few days old, their eyes were shut, and they couldn’t stand on the tiny legs. For them growing up went quickly and within weeks, they were toddlers. When it was time to learn things, they were determined to master it all. As their temporary mom, I knew this trait would serve them well in the wild.

Soon they needed more space to play, so we took them out on the deck a couple of times a day. Here we introduced them to big black bowls of water. The first day, the four bigger babies were more interested in climbing in Jon, but not RC. The runt of the litter, he was the most adventuresome of the bunch. I watched as he inspected fresh water for the first time. He hung on to the rim and looked over, then seemed a little surprised to find another raccoon in the bowl. He reached out to touch the newcomer and was delighted when his reflection became a splash!

His siblings watched from the safety of Jon’s lap and shoulders as he played with and then finally jumped into the big water bowl. He chased water drops until there were none left, stopping only to take a quick drink. Exhausted, he climbed out on to the now soaked deck floor and scrambled up my legs. He was cold and shivered, so I rubbed him down with a towel, and wrapped him a blanket.

By this time, the others decided to give the other bowls a try. In a few minutes, they were all drenched, and decided to climb my jean covered legs looking for the same treatment had RC received. That afternoon was a milestone for the babies – they’d discovered one of life’s essentials and loved the way the water tasted, felt, sounded, and it became one of their favorite places to play. Now, running the faucet in the kitchen woke them from a sound sleep, and they were ready for water games.

As I tucked them in for a nap, I day dreamed about the day the raccoons would return to the wild and enjoy finding the same refreshment and some nutrition in a babbling brook. That would mean letting them go and never seeing them again, so I prayed the days would move at a slower pace than normal. However, I wanted the best for them, and in time, that would be freedom.

Together we’d crossed an invisible line – soon they’d be teenagers and would need me less. I stayed a little closer to their box that day and when they woke up, I was very ready to hold them again. A few months later, they started the process of reverting to wild ones. So, we released them next to the babbling brook I’d dreamed about. They loved it and we loved them enough to leave them there.

When it was time to write this book and have it illustrated, I was amazed by Leslie’s gift for capturing the moment in her art. Here are the words I wrote for this page in the book and her painting of the moment.
RC discovered the big water bowl.
He reached inside and shivered; it was cold!
He held on to the edge and looked over the rim,

And saw his reflection—a picture of him!
The others weren’t quite as thirsty yet,
So he splashed and got himself all wet.

You can share four of our real-life raccoon adventures with your children, and encourage them to draw near to the God who loves them. Find out how to order the paperback book or the e-book HERE. There are also two free coloring pages waiting for you to download.

Joy started writing as a little girl. She carries a large purse so she can take her journal and an assortment of pens with her.
Joy lives on thirty-five acres of woods and field in Minnesota between Rochester and Pine Island. She’s been married to Jon for thirty-five years and they enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Their dogs, Sophie and Tucker, keep them company when they explore the land riding their John Deere Gator or while watching the many birds that visit their feeders.
She has seven books in print and is working on a novel series featuring main character, Olivia Morgan. Joy is also developing a writing group called, Write Yourself Strong, for hurting women.
Faith is a vital part of Joy’s life. When she was sixteen, Joy asked God to find her and He did.