When I was a kid I played outside most days. Home video game consoles were either not on the market, or were a new concept (did anyone else have Pong?). I remember playing hide and seek, kick the can, touch football and other games, when I wasn’t jumping my bicycle over earth ramps and riding through the woods. This was also before mountain biking became popular. Well, I recently read a great young adventure book, The Adventures of Nick and Billy: The Mystery of the Rougarou, written by another man whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, Michael Hoard. Curious to know what a Rougarou was I Googled it. It is a beastie, well known of in Louisiana folklore, with the head of a wolf and the body of a man. Being a lifelong wolf man fan, and occasionally looking like one myself, when I get a little lax on my grooming, I knew that I was going to love this book, so I bought it.
The story takes place in the Louisiana swamplands. Best friends Nick and Billy have been waiting all year to have great summer adventures at the ‘swamp camp’. On the first day they encounter one of their neighbors running scared through the swamp and talking about the Rougarou! Not wanting to see their neighbor leave his lifelong home, the boys decide to get to the bottom of this, and their adventure turns out to be more than they bargained for, taking every outdoor skill they have learned in their twelve years on earth to get through alive.
Now, I have never lived in Louisiana, however, I have spent my share of time in the woods, and have even been in a few swamps. Reading this book took me back decades to the times when I was camping, or just building forts in the woods and making up adventures with my friends. I highly recommend this book for upper elementary through middle school ages, as it has great lessons about the outdoors, friendship, neighbors, love, persistence and teamwork. I also recommend it to anyone of any age who can relate to growing up in the outdoors, however you grew up.
Right as I was finishing the book Michael Hoard was awarded 1st Place for Young Adult at the 2017 SIBA awards for The Mystery of the Rougarou. So…if you want to read an award winning adventure, buy this book! For more info you can check him out at his web site, goo.gl/r6UnFq or on Twitter at @hoard_michael.