Once there was a Mama raccoon and two baby raccoons. They lived in a tall hollow oak tree in the woods. Manni, the oldest of the little raccoons, was different that the others. Her tail was so very long, in fact, she had to curl it up behind her when she walked. The little raccoon was named, Manni which is a boy’s name but her Mama was sure that she would be a boy raccoon when she was born. Mama had a big surprise when Manni turned out to be a girl. Manni had two things that the other children made fun of her. Her very, very long tail and her boy’s name.
One night after dark when Manni, Moe and Mama went to the spring to wash after dinner, Manni got lost from Mama and her little brother. She was very scared, she kept her eyes closed and ran in circles on the porch of the big blue house. Manni was crying and yelling, she could not find Mama. At that moment, a people creature stepped out onto the porch because she heard the little raccoon crying. Manni ran up to her and asked, “Are you my Mama?” The people creature said, “No,” and shooed Manni to the woods where she found Mama and brother Moe high up in a cherry tree. They were very happy to be reunited. Manni was so happy she jumped up in the tree and snuggled close to Mama. Mama scolded her for getting lost, but hugged her all the same as little raccoons need their Mama. Mama warned Manni not to go too close to the people house, but Manni curious and one day when they were about to talk a walk Manni slipped out ahead of Mama and little Moe. She saw people creatures sitting on a swing. Manni climbed the pine tree to get a better look at the people creatures. It was all Manni could do to wait for Mama and poky little Moe. Mama and little Moe made it to the edge of the woods, the people creatures had gone but something small and yellow on the swing. Manni grabbed the yellow thing and the peel fell off and she smelled something sweet. She tasted it and it was strange but very good. Manni did not know that the people creature had watched her eat the fruit. Every now and then, the people creature would leave fruit on the swing; Manni found that she loved grapes and especially the banana. She became an expert on how to peel banana’s. Mama did not know about Manni’s little trips to the blue house. Manni was very curious and would creep up to the door of the blue house and peek inside. Soon Manni was not afraid of the blue house or the creatures that lived there.
One day there was a terrible roaring noise that rattled the raccoon tree house; it was so loud that it woke Manni. She scampered down the tree to see what all the noise was. She saw a big yellow machine and lots of people creatures digging and pushing dirt all around. Manni stayed behind the tree and watched for a long time. At night when the machines were quiet, Manni and little Moe ran up and down the dirt hills in a game of tag until Mama called them to come home. While Mama and little Moe slept during the day, Manni began to go out every day and watch the machines working by the big blue house. Manni was so curious that she would move closer and closer until she was sitting on the side of the yard watching the movement. Sometimes the people creatures would toss food to her. She would sit for hours watching until she would get sleepy and run home. Mama did not know she was not at home sleeping. When Mama found out, she said it was dangerous to go around the people creatures, but Manni said, “Mama, it’s safe. They are not scary at all.”Because Manni looked a little different from the other raccoons, many of the raccoons made fun of her. That made Manni a little sad, but she could hang from a tree limb longer than anyone she knew because of her very long tail. Manni did not have any friends in the forest except for her little brother. Manni thought sometimes Moe was a pest, but she still loved him. Therefore, in some ways, Manni was a happy raccoon. There was so much to see and do that she did not worry that much about what the other raccoons said. Anyway, Mama said she was the sweetest raccoon of all. Manni soon made other friends in the woods. Her very best friend was an opossum named Patti. Manni and Patti would run and play in the woods and race each other to get to the big blue house to see if there were any goodies left out by the people creatures. Manni and Patti became very special friends, they spent the entire summer together, swimming in the stream.
The new friends picked apples and cherries. They played with little Moe sometimes too, so he would not be lonely as he was too little to go outside by himself. The girls loved to color and play dress up in Mama’s clothes. They had so much fun that summer but one day at dinner Mama said, “Manni, you will start school soon so this summer we are going to go across the mountains to see Emily Rose.” Manni and Little Moe were so excited they jumped up and down so hard they shook the tree house. But Manni was sad because her best friend Patti could not go to Tennessee with them. But Patti would be in the same class as Manni so she would have a friend at school. No more daycare because Manni was a big girl now.
Next time Manni goes to visit Emily Rose, Charyle and Alia. Manni visits Madeleine and Olivia. Manni’s first day at school and Manni goes to the beach with Niko and T’Kiah.