If you like books with talking animals, humor, and fantasy you will love this novel. This book is about a raccoon family that lives in the forest under the Big Sky. One day they get ambushed by bloodhounds owned by humans. The son, Kit sadly lost his mother and father in the ambush, but luckily Kit escaped and arrived at Ankle Snap Alley. Ankle Snap was a place where crooks and burglars live. But these burglars aren’t humans, they are animal crooks. There are bad rats and scoundrels of mice. Kit got pulled into the shell and nut game. He had seeds in his pocket that his mother gave him, and also the footprint of Azkaban. He lost his seeds in one game, but he bet more money; well by “money” I mean seeds. He lost and he was about to get out his seeds when he saw a albino rat took them! He chased the rat and got his seeds back, but then Kit and the rat crook became friends! This is only the beginning of a crazy adventure. Kit had to fight an alligator, meet a rat king, and fight in the biggest, baddest, and bloodiest battle that any animal has ever fought in.
There ain’t no party like a book launch party ‘cause a book launch party is AWE-SOME! What happens at a book launch party? The author talks. The audience asks questions. Drama unfolds. An animal runs wild. Snacks are eaten.
At least, that’s what happened at the launch party for C. Alexander London’s new book series, The Wild Ones, held at Books of Wonder in NYC on August 29th.
The event kicked off with a performance that the author described as “one little scene to give you a taste of the action of The Wild Ones” — a scene where a rescue occurs in Ankle Snap Alley:
Left: Eliot Shrefer. Right: C. Alexander London (with temporary animal ears).
Afterwards, there was a civilized conversation between the author and Eliot Schrefer, who has also written several books for teens and two books in the Spirit Animals series! Here’s some inside scoop that we’re reporting back to Kidsmomo readers:
C. Alexander London was inspired by reading Brian Jacques’ Redwall series as a kid, so he always wanted to write a fantasy series with talking animals. (As you read The Wild Ones, keep an eye out for Martin the mouse, a tribute to Redwall!)
The series follows the adventures of Kit, a raccoon:
Kit is a country raccoon who finds himself alone in the big city when a pack of hunting dogs destroy his home and kills his parents. Kit finds himself in Ankle Snap Alley, a city in the midst of a turf war between the Wild Ones and the people’s pets who call themselves The Flealess. There he uncovers the secret that they died for — an ancient truce that gives Ankle Snap Alley to the Wild Ones. But the Flealess will stop at nothing to keep that secret buried forever, and Kit is in serious danger. Only the brave of heart and quick of paw can save the Wild Ones now.
The idea came to London when he encountered two raccoons in his backyard. One of them lifted a paw, so he raised his hand up in response.
Not the raccoon in question. From Twitter User @CuteEmergency
Meanwhile, his pet dog was snarling at the raccoons from inside the house, which made sense because London later discovered that raccoons hold their paws up to show aggression. Here, he shares the details of the drama-filled origins of the book:
Since London mentioned his pet dog, our question was: Did Baxter make it into the book as a character? The answer: The main baddie, Titus, was once based on Baxter, a Boston terrier. However, after much consideration, Titus was changed to a thin Italian Greyhound with spindly legs and a deep gruff voice, inspiring London’s favorite sentence in the book, describing Titus’ voice as being “like dynamite in a silk purse.”
Stand-in for C. Alexander London’s dog, also a Boston Terrier
An Italian Greyhound. Photo (c) Flickr User louies
In preparation for writing The Wild Ones, London read many books featuring animal characters, such as the classics The Rats of NIMH and The Wind in the Willows. Like the Redwall series, many of them were very British, so he thought: What would the American counterpart be? London decided it could be an immigrant story — someone coming to a new place and finding a home: That is Kit’s story. Ankle Snap Alley is based on the historical Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan, infamous for crime and poverty.
So what will we be looking forward to after reading The Wild Ones? The sequel, of course! In the sequel, we’ll get a taste of a villainous coyote, a gang of otters, and the mysterious alligator in the sewer that everyone’s heard about. London just finished the first draft, which was a little held up because he invented a lot of new words for the world, but had a tiny bit of trouble keeping track of it all. A lot of the jargon used by the animals is similar to what thieves and magicians say.
After the Q&A, we stood in line for the book signing and enjoyed some compost cake and animal crackers:
And in case you’re worried that we’re reporting this from the grave after an intense life-ending stomachache: Nope, compost cake is NOT made of actual compost, but actually consists of crushed cookies, chips, pretzels and more fun, yummy snacks. Compost cake, naturally, is the closest homage to what the Wild Ones eat, which is… trash and compost. The animal crackers, however — the author admitted that was a little odd. He doesn’t want to us to EAT Kit, he wants us to READ about him, obviously. So… pick up a copy of The Wild Ones today! Or enter below for a chance to win a copy!
Raccoon Photo (c) Flickr user fatedsnowfox
ENTER BY SEPTEMBER 30TH FOR A CHANCE TO WIN…
GRAND PRIZE: A SIGNED HARDCOVER COPY OF THE WILD ONES AND A HARDCOVER COPY OF IMMORTAL GUARDIANS!
TWO RUNNER-UP PRIZES: A HARD COVER COPY OF THE WILD ONES!
P.S. In case you were keeping track: The “animal running wild” that we mentioned at the beginning was an adorable service dog who walked around the bookstore like he owned the joint. It did not seem professional to take a picture of him, as he was doing important dog work.