Tracy, Tom. Scoochie & Skiddles: Scoochie’s adoption story. Illustrated by Dustin James. Scoochie & Skiddles LLC. 2022. $12.99. 33p. PB. 9798985624403.
Scoochie’s Adoption Story gets so much right that other adoption books don’t come close to. It opens with a dedication to the author’s children’s birth moms, showing kids that birth mothers should be revered and appreciated. This is something that isn’t often captured in media depictions of adoption but that is very important for adopted children. Healthy messages abound in this book. The straightforward story and Paw Patrol-like illustrations ensure that kids will engage with the book long enough to receive them.
Scoochie has, what I would consider, a classic adoption story, where the birth mom chose the parents she would give her baby to while she was pregnant. Scoochie mentions that she hopes to meet her birth mother some day and have a play date with her sister, normalizing the idea that she could have her birth relatives in her life without it changing anything about her family. Again, popular media often depict birth family contact or even recognition as a threat, when in reality it is healthy for adopted kids to know where they came from and have a positive opinion of their birth relatives.
The illustrations portray diverse families of all types in the background, allowing different kinds of readers to find a family that looks like theirs. Even though the start of Scoochie’s adoption story doesn’t reflect most adoption circumstances, it will still be relatable for many adopted children, and it is a great resource for kids who have met an adoptee at school or on the playground. Scoochie’s Adoption Story covers a lot of the important details in an adopted kid’s life, and answers curious questions kids may have about how adopted families come together.
Recommended for families looking for adoption stories and two-dad stories. This is more of a learning book than an entertainment book, but no doubt many adoptees will pore over the pages that relate to their own story.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Ashley Dunne
Author’s note: Unlike Scoochie, many adoptees reading this book will have been separated from their birth families because of government intervention, which disproportionately targets Black and Indigenous children and assumes they are better off with white families. It’s great to have more books depicting transracial adoption, and the onus of addressing this larger systemic problem is not on the beautiful family sharing their story in this book. Their story fills a lot of other gaps in adoption representation in picture books, so this is not a flaw particular to Scoochie’s Adoption Story but rather a gap that persists in the media at large. One way of remediating some racist assumptions our culture makes when seeing white parents with a Black child could be showing a Black role model in the child’s life. Perhaps the next instalment of Scoochie’s story will do just that.