Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation

Children - Animals
36 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2020
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Author Biography

Born in Oakland, California, Nancy Strom was educated at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, she worked in Academic Personnel in the Chancellor’s Office on the Berkeley campus, where she met Prince Charles when he was on a campus tour. After this brief brush with celebrity, she continued a career in Human Resources, including positions in academic personnel at the Lawrence Hall of Science on the Berkeley campus.

Later she joined her husband in a small company he owned, and there her penchant for teaching came to the fore. They had 40 employees, half of whom were immigrants from Southeast Asia who spoke little English. Nancy received a grant to start an English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the workplace. And then she devised The Buddy Program to be part of ESL. For The Buddy System, Nancy won an award from the Association of Washington Businesses for her innovative approach to employee relations and interactions.

Nancy first read the Wind in the Willows as a teenager and ever since has dreamed of writing a children’s book with animals as the main characters. Once retired, she started working on this lifetime dream. She was looking for a twist, so she tried writing in rhyme. And her experiences with her young grandnieces and nephews convinced her that an adventure needed to be an integral part of the story. Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a result.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

There’s nothing better than a good group of friends. You can do so much together: play games, enjoy nice food and even go on adventures. That’s what Murphy, Scooter, Bandit, and Betsy decided to do: go on an adventure. They wanted to see the world and experience new things. It was actually Scooter’s idea. Scooter is a red fox pup. Murphy is a hedgehog, Bandit is a raccoon, and Betsy is a beaver. They planned and baked and prepared for the big day and ventured out together, enjoying the scenery and the companionship of good friends. And quite an adventure they had, one that might have resulted in dire circumstances if the foursome hadn’t used their wits and their talents to work together and resolve the situation.

Nancy Strom’s picture book story, Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation, is all about good friends and good times. Told in very clever rhyming verse, the story introduces each of the four friends and describes each friend using a unique characteristic about the animal, like Scooter, the red fox, who “was always up to something, into mischief, just because”- an apt description of the characteristic of a wily fox. The story is a celebration of friendships, but also one of recognizing diversity and the power of the young to overlook differences, to work together, to have fun together and to help each other out. The animal characters are developed with care and compassion and the plot thickens with added excitement as the adventure progresses. The illustrations help carry the story along as the young foursome learn how to work together and to utilize each other’s strengths to full advantage. A wonderful story about friendships and the power of diversity and acceptance.

Edith Wairimu

In Nancy Strom’s exciting children’s story, Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation, Murphy, Scooter, Bandit and Betsy plan and take a vacation. One day when having tea, Scooter, a mischievous red fox pup, suggests to Murphy, a foodie and fun-loving hedgehog, the idea of taking a vacation with their friends. Bandit, their young raccoon friend, arrives at Scooter’s house along with Betsy, a beaver with a beautiful voice, where the four friends discuss the vacation. The excited group meets the next morning to embark on their thrilling adventure. None, however, is aware of what they will encounter on their journey. Fear and excitement grip the friends as they face the possibility of bumping into a vicious nasty wolf shortly after they begin their journey, then later as they walk through a forest that seems never-ending, and as Scooter and Murphy run for their lives in a dark frightening cave.

Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation incorporates a colorful set of main and supporting characters. The interesting supporting characters include a helpful toad and a pack of lazy rowdy weasels. Each of the main characters is a unique addition to the plot. The story contains electrifying twists that present a chance to go beyond the familiar. End-rhymes are utilized which adds musicality to the work and these help young readers remember the plot and words used. Carolyn Van Hosen’s beautiful watercolor illustrations adorn the pages, making the story even more captivating. The images are creative, colorful and useful in telling the story. Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a delightful, engaging story that comes packed with lessons for all readers, especially its young audience who will be inspired to form friendships, have adventures, and discover new things.

Jacob R LaMar

Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a children’s picture book written by Nancy Strom and illustrated by Carolyn Van Hosen. The story centers around a fox named Scooter and her friends; a hedgehog named Murphy, a raccoon named Bandit, and a beaver named Betsy. Together, the four friends decide to go on an adventure and see what the world has in store for each of them. Along the way, they meet a helpful frog and some not-so-helpful other creatures and gain an appreciation for the friendship they have with each other. The text in this book is accompanied by bright and colorful full-page illustrations with plenty of browns and greens. Strom also includes a dedication page as well as an image of each book character in order to introduce them to the reader.

Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a rhyming adventure that primarily utilizes the rhyme scheme AABB. Nancy Strom has a real gift for describing her story in a way that makes it real for the young reader and to do so with the confines of a regular rhyme scheme is no easy task. On that note, the author does wonders, and she does a sufficient job of not using too many forced rhymes as well. The reading is at times choppy because the rhythm isn’t always consistent but the journey the author plans for the story shines through regardless. I imagine this would be a well-liked book for kids who enjoy rhyming or nature and perhaps it would also be effective in kindling a love for those things.

Louanne Piccolo

Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation, written by Nancy Strom and illustrated by Carolyn Van Hosen, is a children’s picture book about four young animals – a fox, hedgehog, raccoon, and beaver – who decide to go on a short adventure to see what the world is like. Scooter the fox and Murphy the hedgehog round up Betsy the beaver and Bandit the raccoon and they hit the road. On the way, they bump into a toad who points them in the best direction to take and the foursome eventually stumble across a cave. Once inside, they come across two paths. Which one should they take? They decide to split up and explore both, but Scooter and Murphy soon realize that their path may not be the safest one. How will they find their way out unharmed?

Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation made me remember what it was like to be a child reading a new book with captivating illustrations and a suspenseful storyline. This beautifully illustrated picture book is exciting with just the right dose of suspense for young readers. Nancy Strom has written a compelling story for young readers, both drawing them in and urging them to follow the action right through to the end. If you have a young child who enjoys listening to rhyming prose, Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation will delight them. Charming, homespun, and lovely to look at, Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a picture book you can read with your child many times and never tire of it.