The Adventures of Joseph Squirrel and Dean Raccoon


74 pages
ISBN 1-55369-847-9
DDC jC813'.6




Illustrations by Laura Grandi
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Joseph Squirrel and Dean Raccoon are best friends. They live in
Vancouver’s Stanley Park with their friends Dolores Duck, Renee
Rabbit, Benjamin Beaver, and Orlando Owl. The only problem with their
idyllic existence is “P&P”—people and pets. Everywhere the park
animals go, they seem to run into humans and their nasty, noisy dogs.
One day, Dean and Joseph decide to explore the park beyond their usual
territory. They make it all the way to the seawall and just when
they’re convinced that P&Ps are not so bad after all, a huge barking
dog chases them across the beach and into a vacant row boat. The next
thing they know, the two friends are on their way across the Pacific
Ocean. Next stop, Japan.

The old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is proven true
in this first book by Duane Lawrence. The prose, although weakened by
unimaginative character names, is intriguing. Lawrence juggles several
themes, including friendship, helping strangers, hospitality, overcoming
prejudice, and knowing when to apologize. Unfortunately, the book’s
cover art and black-and-white illustrations are quite amateurish and
will undoubtedly hinder sales. Two maps, one of Stanley Park and one of
Nara Park (Japan), are included at the front of the book. Recommended.


Lawrence, Duane., “The Adventures of Joseph Squirrel and Dean Raccoon,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,