Cover image for Little Raccoon's big question
Little Raccoon's big question
Schlein, Miriam.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When Little Raccoon asks his mother when she loves him the most, she finally answers "always right now."
Reading Level:
AD 400 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.9 0.5 77527.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.8 1 Quiz: 36885 Guided reading level: J.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Little Raccoon has a question.

It is a question for his mother.

"When do you love me most of all?" he asks.

Of course, one question leads to another.

"Is it when I wake up?"

And another.

"Is it when I play in the trees?"

And another and another and another.

Little Raccoon has lots of questions.

How many answers does his mother have?

Just one.

Author Notes

Miriam Schlein, whose nearly one hundred books, written over 50 years, taught very young children about animals and concepts like time and space, died on Nov. 23, 2004 in New York. She was 78 and lived in Manhattan.

Ms. Schlein found new ways of telling children about bats and skunks and porcupines and their behavior even as she cleared up myths about them. Some of her books were about dinosaurs: "Before the Dinosaurs" (1996), illustrated by Michael Rothman; "The Dino Quiz Book" (1995), illustrated by Nate Evans; "Let's Go Dinosaur Tracking!" (1991), illustrated by Kate Duke; and "Discovering Dinosaur Babies" (1991), illustrated by Margaret Colbert.

Other works featured elephants, pandas, sea horses. pigeons and squirrels. Two new books, her last: "The Story About Me," and "Little Raccoon's Big Question." She first appeared in print in 1951 with "A Day at the Playground" from Golden Books, where she worked as a secretary.

Ms. Schlein received a B.A. in English and psychology from Brooklyn College in 1947 and then held a number of jobs in advertising and publishing. She was in the children's department of Simon & Schuster when she decided that her future lay in writing. She pursued it with a series of books about concepts, illustrated by Leonard Kessler and published by William R. Scott. They included "Shapes" (1952) and "Heavy Is a Hippopotamus." In the 1950's she also wrote some stories about children and animals that won her wide recognition and awards, including "Four Little Foxes," "Elephant Herd," and "When Will the World Be Mine?" about a baby snowshoe rabbit, which The New Yorker called "a poetic book."

Some of Ms. Schlein's books were Junior Literary Guild Selections and several of her natural-science titles received Outstanding Science Books for Children awards. "When Will the World Be Mine?" (1953), republished 20 years later as "The Rabbit's World," was named a Caldecott Honor Book.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 1. Picture books built around heart-tugging dialogue between parents and children aren't exactly scarce, but this one is worth adding to the shelves. Little Raccoon asks his mother, When do you love me most of all? In guessing her response (Is it at feeding time, when I wash my food and am very neat when I eat? ), he reveals a deep pride in his accomplishments as well as tidbits about raccoon behavior. Depictions of normally nocturnal animals roaming in broad daylight undercut the author's educational impulse, but it's impossible to be curmudgeonly when presented with Schoenherr's painterly artwork, featuring burnished woodland landscapes and raccoons stylized just enough to emphasize their inherently endearing qualities. Parents and children will recognize their own playful interactions as Little Raccoon plays toro to his mother's proffered bath towel, mugs for a mirror, and strikes brain-racking poses to help him figure out what readers already know: Mom loves him at whatever time of day or night it happens to be. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As Little Raccoon winds down his day, he asks his mother, "When do you love me most of all?" With Schlein (Just Like Me) nailing the timbre of pint-sized insistence (not to mention bedtime resistance), and Schoenherr (Marie in Fourth Position) reveling in the hero's wide-eyed theatricality, this elegant, warmhearted book is off to a running start. As Little Raccoon formulates variations on his question, Schoenherr moves between spot illustrations chronicling the bedtime preparations to full-bleed, exquisitely stippled flashbacks from the duo's daily routine. The spreads exude a luxuriant, reassuring feel, and subtly temper Little Raccoon's rather relentless energy. And Schoenherr has a wonderful sense of volume and space. When the bushy-tailed hero wonders if his mother loves him best, "at feeding time, when I wash my paws and wash my food and am very neat when I eat? Is it then? Is that when?" the artist depicts their cozy kitchen, where the youngster perches on a boulder, chewing on a golden ear of corn as wide as he is tall; sunlight dapples every surface and illuminates his mother's fur. Finally, the patient parent reveals her answer: "Now is the time when I love most of all.... It's always right now." This Zen-like response is so complete and so resonant that Little Raccoon completely capitulates and goes to sleep-proving that when it comes to bedtime, mothers have a few tricks up their sleeves, too. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Little Raccoon wants to know when it is that his mother loves him most. Is it when he eats neatly or swims all the way across the pond, or when they huddle together on a snowy winter night? His mother replies, "No.- That's not when" to all of the described scenarios until she finally reveals, "-there is no special time. I love you all the time." Schlein does a masterful job of capturing the naively egocentric voice of an exuberant toddler who is secure in his mother's love and confident that he is the center of her world. Schoenherr's ink-and-acrylic paintings in warm golds and browns echo the warmth of the story. The spreads are rich in cozy detail, and Little Raccoon is irresistible as he playacts in his towel at bath time or cavorts in the trees. Pair this with Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick, 1995) for two bedtime stories that guarantee sweet dreams.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.