Young Riley Raccoon sets out on an adventure to save three havens in his forest, each giving him something unique and irreplaceable in his life. When a new raccoon family moves in, he unknowingly meets his best, and only, friend. Over the course of their adventures together they forge a... read more
“He stopped. He found the eyes he had been looking for. They were beautiful, dark little spheres that engulfed Riley with amazement. They seemed so small, yet housed something so big and magnificent inside. He felt like he could just move into them and lay down on the softest of beds, fall asleep, and have the most pleasant dreams ever. And despite their darkness, they both sparkled with a faint, but very distinct energy that captivated him, leaving him speechless and dumb in front of her.”
“'Well imagine if that did fail! What if you came here and saw the other kits horsing around under this willow tree and they scratch it? What if they were wrestling on the boulder on the hill and bled on it? What if they scavenged the blackberry bush bare and it wouldn’t be able to produce fruit anymore? What then?' Riley thought about these things. The idea of those scoundrels coming to this place, disturbing its peace, and destroying the sanctity he found here thoroughly disturbed him.”Charlotte
“They walked up the path to the hill together, not saying a word, for they didn’t want to disturb the peace and serenity of the sleeping woods. Their paws were damp with morning dew, which glistened as the sun rolled out its carpet of light in preparation to greet the world that day. Every morning the sun went through this same process, and every day with the same meticulous execution and attention to every tiny detail. The sun never grew tired of performing its splendid show, for it was stunning and beautiful every time. 'It is such a crime,' Riley thought, 'to sleep through the sunrise. The sun must be quite offended when so many animals in the world miss its grandeur day after day.”
“Once at the top of the hill, they climbed up on the boulder and sat in silence as they looked on the eastern horizon. The valley below them was shrouded in a delicate mist, like a blanket of protection for the dozing inhabitants beneath it. The mountain on the far side of the valley rose up like a great protector; the Earth extending its arm, and cradling its small children. Riley and Charlotte sat up high above the mist, exposed to the sun and the fading stars and the pink clouds that looked like the softest fur they could imagine. They were up high, triumphant, in sheer exaltation of the Earth and its beauty in the morning light. But the Earth wouldn’t be half as stunning without the Sun watching over it, blessing it with its light every day.”
“Riley and Charlotte felt exposed; to the Earth and to themselves. Nothing could remain hidden in the presence of such magnificence. Just as the slightest sliver of sun peeked over the mountain, a tear formed in Charlotte’s eye, and sparkled with such an impossible beauty. This was more important to her than Riley could have ever realized. Before anyone could see it, though, she quickly wiped it away and swallowed her feelings. She reached for Riley’s paw, who, at her touch, jumped slightly, but received her paw as naturally as he would anything; as if it was already assumed as a fact of life that their paws belonged as such. 'We have to save this place,' said Charlotte.”
“'Well, sunrises are more fresh. It’s the coming out of a long, dark, cold night. Sunsets are more like an expiration. They symbolize the end of light, and without light, you know, nothing can live.' Riley thought about this idea a long time. He liked when Charlotte was philosophical like him; he felt he could really connect with her. For some reason, his mind substituted the word “light” with “Charlotte,” without Riley telling it to. Usually this produces undesirable thoughts, but this time his mind got it right. 'Without Charlotte, nothing can live,' he thought.”Charlotte
“'Riley, you’re easy as a book to read. I know everything about you.' Riley blushed. 'But me—I don’t think you can say the same about me. I think it’s time I tell you about who I am…'”Charlotte
The only YA aspect of the story is that the characters are all raccoons. Some deeper themes, morals, and philosophy, and some complex concepts most children might not be able to grasp alone. Other than that, appropriate for all ages.
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