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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
You Don’t Belong Here is a fun beginner book by Sean O’Toole. It’s a good match for kids who like animal stories and tells the tale of two muskrats who are brothers. When Marty and Manny stray into an older lady’s yard, she feels they are pests because they eat all her vegetables. The pest controller plans to relocate them carefully to a distant pond. Marty is caught first and separated from his brother. Marty is scared, but he soon finds the animals around the pond have problems too. A hooligan raccoon is running around trying to eat them! Marty cleverly confronts the raccoon and gets him to have a new outlook on life. And it might be that acceptance from his new friends isn’t the only good thing that will happen to Marty.
You Don’t Belong Here is noteworthy for its straightforward, in-the-action style of writing and its realism. Animals in fiction often act and behave a lot like people, but the characters of this book act very much like real animals as well. Although they can speak and think, their origins as creatures out in the wild are very clear. Marty has just enough humanness to provide a little humor and a little problem-solving too. You Don’t Belong Here could keep a young child genuinely entertained if they have an interest in the wildlife in their backyards or in nearby woods. The most entertaining bits in the story occur when Marty packs a good punch of tough and reasonable while dealing with the bullying raccoon, Ronny. Standing up for yourself should always go hand in hand with fixing things so they don’t happen again, and Sean O’Toole does a commendable job with the moral message in the storytelling. A perky book that stands out from the crowd.