By: Janice E. Clark
Illustrated by: Susan Shorter
Publication Date: October 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 17, 2013
Roscoe Arthur Krueger is a very happy young man. He LOVES helping people, making them smile, and getting hugs. His nana is very proud of him for all the good things that he likes to do. Roscoe has a nickname too. Can you guess what it is? It’s RAK. You might think he got that nickname because those are his initials, but Nana says it is because he is always doing “random acts of kindness.” What a great nickname!
As the story opens, RAK is holding a park gate open for a mother who has a baby in a stroller. As the mother walks through the open gate, she smiles, waves to the youngster and thanks him. RAK picks up his notepad and puts a check beneath the words thank you and smile. He likes keeping a tally of his good deeds because it makes him feel good and he knows each RAK brings a smile to the receiver.
RAK has so many things to do, usually with his loving Nana by his side. They like to walk to the library (listen to the policeman so you can cross the street safely); at the library RAK reads a book quietly (you don’t want to bother others who are reading); and in the winter, he helps his dad shovel the snowflakes off the walk (Nana stays in the house for this one!). Every time RAK helps out, he brings a smile to somebody’s face.
While Roscoe is a RAK, the author explains that anybody can be a RAK. All it takes to hold this special honor is to help somebody else out. How simple is that? You can also keep a notepad like Roscoe and tally up all the smiles, hugs and thanks that you receive.
This sweet story is part text, part rhyme and the two blend perfectly to tell this story:
One summer day while walking in the park, RAK saw a turtle on its back. He hurried over to help it onto its feet.
Turtle, turtle, upside down,
let me help you flip around.
There you go, my little friend,
free to travel home again.
In this day and age, when so many children’s books are filled with “don’t do this,” “don’t do that,” or “be careful,” it is nice to read a book with a strong, positive message. The drawings are bright and lively and add a nice upbeat look to the entire book. Put it all together and you have a fun, charming book that will leave a smile on everybody’s face.
Quill says: A delightful book full of positive messages about helping others, and the wonderful rewards (hugs, smiles, thanks) that you get from all those RAKs!