April 15, 2014

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Pick of the Day: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp | Audio

Swamp Pick of the Day: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp | Audiostar6 Pick of the Day: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp | AudioThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. By Kathi Appelt. 5 CDs. approx. 6 hrs. Simon & Schuster Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442366121. $29.99.
Gr 3–7–Appelt’s latest work (Atheneum, 2013) features a host of eccentric characters including two raccoon scouts, Bingo and J’miah; a 12-year-old boy named Chap who is grieving his grandfather’s death; and the Sugar Man, a Yeti-type creature who has been asleep for 60 years. The raccoon brothers are tasked with waking the Sugar Man if the swamp is threatened. On their first night as scouts, they feel an ominous rumble of oncoming wild hogs. Meanwhile, the man who owns the swampland is planning to pave it and put up a gator-wrestling park. This angers Chap, who cherishes the natural beauty of the swamp and whose mom makes the most delicious pies with the sugar cane. Lyle Lovett’s rolling drawl and warm tone is the perfect complement to Appelt’s tale (S & S/Atheneum, 2013) with an environmental message. It’s a little disappointing that he doesn’t actually sing the lullaby used to keep the rattlesnakes at bay. Appelt writes with a rhythmic cadence and some random rhymes that Lovett delivers with flair. With tension and humor, this charming tale highlights teamwork, family, and especially community.–C.A Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO



  1. I love me a good Kathi Appelt YA book! Everytime she’s published one, I’ve rushed out to my local bookseller and bought it because it’s likely something I’ll want to revisit–maybe multiple times (Keeper is near the very tippy-top of the list of my All Time Favorite YA Books). True Blue Scouts was no exception. The book was amazing! So when the audio crossed my desk, I was beyond excited. I began listening to it on my commute and, although the story was as enchanting as it was in the print format, I found the narration, well, disappointing. Lovett read the story straight, without any voice variation for the different characters or (as the review mentioned) singing where singing was most difinitely required. The audio format had the potential to skyrocket this awesome story to new heights, but unfortunately the reader didn’t do it justice.

  2. I agree. I thought Lovett’s narration was entirely too flat. There was no emotion or excitement in his voice. It did not do the story justice.

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