“Fast Eddie” is the story of a battle between a wild animal and a suburban family. Eddie is a raccoon who drags chicken parts, egg cartons and tin foil out of the Plotkins’ trash and builds sculptures. The humans don't see "art," just trash on their driveway. Eddie has two friends (a woodchuck and a squirrel) and a best friend, the Plotkins’ cat. Puff is a cautious, dependent pet, but she longs for excitement and independence. The battle between the Plotkins and Fast Eddie escalates. Meanwhile, the raccoon plans his masterpiece. Will Puff be loyal to those I who feed and love her or to her best friend? Does she tell the raccoon about George Plotkin’s gun? Only Sammy Plotkin, age 8, knows about the unusual friendship. The Novel for 8-12 year olds was published by Four Winds Press, a division of Macmillan Publishing Company.
“Coleman’s detailed descriptions suggest the careful eye of a naturalist and she does an excellent job of telling the story from the animal’s point of view. Their observations and conversations are amusing and well realized. Gillman’s abundant pen-and-ink illustrations reflect the text and are particularly adept in portraying Fast Eddie’s rakish character. The taut plot, well-drawn characters, unusual point of view and ecological theme combine to make this an appealing story for children who love animals and care about their future.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
“The author describes this fantasy about an escalating battle between the suburban Plotkin family and its strong-willed neighbor as “nonfiction”; indeed, though Eddie (a feisty, amoral raccoon), his friend Puff (a cat who’s adept-but not always successful-in manipulating her family), and hilariously bumbling Delicious (a golden retriever) express themselves in words, they are portrayed from the ironical perspective of a human who has endured, and been much amused by, their interactions…the animals antics and lively dialogue are consistently entertaining while the denouement…is too cleverly appropriate, and too funny, to reveal here. An easily read story that would also make a fine read-aloud.” KIRKUS REVIEWS
“In this thought-provoking story, Fast Eddie the raccoon refuses to stop harassing the Plotkin family, even though his friend worries about the consequences. Coleman provides humorous moments, but the tale also has an edge to it.” THE HORN BOOK GUIDE
The raccoon inspected the cellar. His eyes scanned the jars of homemade pink jellies and the shelf of Sammy’s outgrown boots.
“Where’s the food?” he asked.
“The food?” Puff gasped. “You’re going to steal my food?”
“They’ll give you more,” Eddie said. “I promise. You won’t even miss a meal.” He shook dirt off his right paw. “Besides, I adore cat food.”
Above the animals heads, the microwave beeped. Chocolate and butter swirled with the eggs and sugar.
“Can I have a lick?” Sammy asked as he stared into the bowl.
“I can’t believe I told you about the tunnel,” Puff whispered, “and my food on the cellar stairs. I’ll never tell you anything ever again.”
Eddie started toward the stairs. “You’re being ridiculous,” he said.
The oven door opened and the pan skidded onto the rack. Sammy licked the back of his hand. Black batter covered his chin.
“We’re going to get into trouble!”
“I can handle the Plotkins.”
Puff began to shiver. “I don’t believe you’re doing this. My best friend!”
“No one’s going to let you starve,” Eddie insisted. “There’s always more for you. But who takes care of me? Besides, aren’t best friends supposed to share? You’re just thinking about yourself.” Fast Eddie rose up on his hind legs and twisted toward the cat.
“Come on,” he said, “I’m a raccoon. Raccoons have stolen food for thousands of years, long before there were Plotkins on this earth. If we didn’t, that would be the end of us. Anyway, I was here before the Plotkins. I liked the other owners better. They weren’t so fussy.” He dropped onto his front paws, hesitated, and looked back over his shoulder.
“Do I try to change you, Puff?” he asked. “Do I tell you it’s disgusting the way you depend on people? You’re no more independent than Sammy Plotkin. But you’re a cat. I know that. Take the free food, but remember-everyone isn’t so lucky.”
Mrs. Plotkin walked over to the sink and turned on the water. A fork fell down the disposal. Sammy lifted his shirt and licked a teardrop of batter off the front.
Eddie climbed the stairs effortlessly. His head fell into the cat’s bowl. Puff sat back on her hind legs.
Cat food dribbled down the stairs and bounced on the cement floor. Puff’s bowl glided through the air like a Frisbee. It bounced off the shelf of jellies and landed on the floor. The jars wobbled.
The water ceased. “What was that?” Mrs. Plotkin asked. She dropped an orange sponge on the counter.
Fast Eddie grunted. Mrs. Plotkin’s sneakers squeaked. The door opened. Daylight filled the stairwell. Puff couldn’t move.
A green barrel rolled sideways down the cellar stairs. Brown kernels of dog food exploded like popcorn.
Mrs. Plotkin screamed.
Copyright © 2021 Janet Wyman Coleman - All Rights Reserved.