Pumpkin: The Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog, Laura Young (author), Pan Macmillan 2016

 Synopsis: When Laura Young found an injured baby raccoon in her back garden she didn’t know what a big part of the family she was about to become. Laura and her husband, William, named her Pumpkin and her bond with their rescue dogs, Toffee and Oreo, was soon obvious. The three of them take naps, watch TV and cuddle each other and Pumpkin is always with her two new mums. Be prepared to fall in love with Pumpkin and the gang – adored around the world, and with nearly a million followers on Instagram.

If you’re looking for a fun book you can read over the school holidays with your family, check out Laura Young’s Pumpkin: The Raccoon Who Thought She Was a Dog. The book is mostly made up photographs of Pumpkin, the raccoon, hanging out at home, usually with her two best friends, the rescue dogs Toffee and Oreo.

Pumpkin is well known around the world already, having been captured in lots of photos which have been posted by Laura on Instagram and followed in huge numbers. Now, though, there is a gift book available that people of all ages can enjoy for its humour, demonstration of love, and heart-warming photos.

Kids and adults alike can have fun reading the captions on the pictures, as well as checking out the more detailed pages with text about how Pumpkin came to join the Young family and the various adventures she has been up to since. In particular, children will no doubt be in hysterics when hearing about a certain bathroom flooding incident that involved Pumpkin learning how to turn on a tap and having a blast playing with puddles!

Due to the fact that the book isn’t text heavy at all, it makes for a light yet educational romp through the life of an unusual pet, and will be a good way for parents to entice reluctant readers to sit down with a book over the holidays when they might be keen to stay looking at a screen instead. There are a few captions in the book which might go over the heads of children, particularly young ones, but all in all it is a very kid-friendly title.

Teachers, librarians, parents and others could also enjoy using this heart-warming book to start discussions about animal behaviour and environments, as well as to consider themes of compassion, home, friendship and the like. Note that, responsibly, the book does make mention of the fact that raccoons are not meant to be domesticated animals, and explains why Pumpkin ended up becoming an unlikely pet. Animal lovers, particularly anyone who enjoys hearing about out-of-the-ordinary animal friendships, will no doubt enjoy this book best.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Pan Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review.

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