I’m so pleased and excited to show off some of the brilliant artwork done for Raccoon Rescue — its cover image!
Illustrator Christian Barratt lives in Perth, Western Australia. He did such a great job capturing the characters of Mama, Roxy, Rufus, and Renae not just on the cover, but throughout the book. I’m so pleased and fortunate to have been able to team with him on this!
An excerpt from the scene which the cover illustrates:
“I’m scared, Mama,” came Renae’s little chitter. “They sound so angry. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Mama nuzzled her. “I’ve kept three litters of kits safe from humans. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“We should leave, though,” said Renae. “Let’s go, while they’re talking.” She began to move along one of the wooden boards.
“Please stay here, Renae,” Mama called after her.
“Now’s not the time to be brave, Renae,” Roxy added.
With that, the entryway opened, and the father human again stood there. He peered up at the tiny raccoon clinging to the shed rafters. “And what are you up to,” he said.
Renae, apparently boneless with fear, fell to the ground for the second time that day.
“Oh, Daddy, look what you made it do!” the older human kit squealed. She pushed past her father and scooped Renae up from the floor.
“Be careful, Helena!” the human father barked. “It could be rabid! Don’t let it bite you!”
Up in the rafters, Roxy grabbed Mama. “Do something!” she whispered loudly. “They’ll hurt Renae!” Rufus could see the whites of her eyes. He had never seen her look so scared, not even when Mama moved their den. He dug his claws into the wood.
Renae struggled and clawed and mewed at the top of her voice. The human kit didn’t seem to notice. She took hold of Renae by her scruff and turned her this way and that under the light. “It doesn’t look hurt, but maybe we should find a vet?”
Rufus arched his back, mirroring Mama. “What are they doing? It looks like they mean to keep her!”
Mama growled. Her striped tail swished back and forth. She gathered herself, backing up, preparing to leap.
“Maybe we should put it down and leave it be.” The human father’s gruff voice sounded very much like Mama’s. “If it’s hurt, nature will take care of its own. Anyway, that mother looks about ready to attack us. Put it down and let’s go.” He turned to leave the shed.
“Nature can be cruel,” the human kit murmured. She put her other hand under Renae’s belly and let go of her scruff, as if to snuggle Renae. “I wonder if it would have a better chance if we raised it?” And she turned and walked out of the shed behind her father.
Mama leaped, but it was too late; the door had closed. She was cut off from her youngest, smallest kit.