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Sky Danley
Sky Danley, author
A young kit raccoon named Cocodrie can't swim and is terribly afraid of the river running past his cottonwoods home. When evil poachers suddenly appear and start capturing all the riverbank animals, their gunshots startle Cocodrie. He jumps away from his mother and lands on a riverbank log only to be taken downriver on a scary adventure. The river eventually turns into a bayou, where he meets a friendly pelican, alligator, and green water snake. They teach him how to swim and guide him back to his cottonwoods home, where Cocodrie rescues all the riverbank animals from the evil poachers and reunites with his mother.
In this tale set “way down deep in the deep delta south, where dusking calls from the bullfrog’s mouth,” the titular raccoon kit, afraid of swimming after a near drowning, must brave the river when gun-toting land developers capture his mother and other animal residents from their riverside cottonwoods community. Narrowly escaping the nets of DerBoss and his henchmen Radley and Finch, Cocodrie floats downstream on a drifting log, ending up in a bayou. There he meets an old pelican named Pontch, a cowardly alligator called Lil’-Al, and a water snake named Jo-Jo Slithers. The friendly trio teaches Cocodrie to swim, portrayed in layered green digital spot art by Coate, and then helps to rescue the prisoners. Though text-heavy pages slow the action (“while the old man mournfully glistened, rocking in a chair and picking in a stare, rocking and picking, in a slow and rhythmic ticking,” Danley writes), young readers may still enjoy the tale’s simple, cartoony sensibility. Ages 5–8. (Self-published.)