It’s 2020… and while our family adventures are currently on hold due to some chaotic world-wide circumstances, there are so many adventures just waiting for our kids this summer. No matter where our kids are, books can transport them to the corners of the planet and beyond, limited by only their imagination and that of the authors. Today I’m going to introduce you to The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot, a new “perfect for tweens” chapter book.
- Book review
- Free Printable Coloring Pages
- Edible Acorn Treat Instructions
(Complimentary book provided for review. Affiliate links in post where a small commission may be earned at no cost to you for any purchases made.)
The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot Book Review
An epic story of a chipmunk who discovered meaning and purpose while pursuing his ambitious dreams to change the forest forever.
This summer we’ve just finished reading a book that with first glance I thought would be a picture book, maybe 20 or so pages long. It had the cutest cover ever of a chipmunk with a trendy backpack obviously off on some incredible adventure. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was a chapter book – 236 pages long. Perfect for tweens or those looking for a new bedtime story.
While we certainly still have our fair share of picture books in our house, my daughter spends hours at a time reading (and re-reading) favorite chapter books. They draw her in. They are long enough to keep her entertained for hours. This was going to be a great addition to our library this summer.
Haven’t yet heard of the infamous Rockford T. Honeypot?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
As a young chipmunk, shy, bookish Rockford T. Honeypot had dreams of thrilling adventures across the forest. However, timid of danger and germs, his only adventures were found in books and his imagination. When his family abandons him after a mistake that destroys their hazelnut business, Rockford sets off on a legendary journey beyond his wildest dreams. From exploring cuisines with a famous chef, training with ancient warrior monks, flying on giant hawks, finding true love, and much more, Rockford recounts his epic origin story of hardship, perseverance, and fortune.
Inspiration for an Epic Tale
Spanning decades and generations, The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot is a book that will keep you on your toes. It’s a story told from Rockford’s perspective as he’s telling his life story to not only his great-grandson Theo, but to an ever growing crowd.
But where did this story come from?
My daughter and I had the chance to ask author Josh Gottsegen a few questions about the book recently. We were curious about the inspiration for the story and discovered that this wasn’t his first book. In fact, Gottsegen wrote three books in his Joosh’s Juice Bar picture book series, about a family who runs a juice stand in Tropland Forest. Readers will quickly recognize that this same Tropland Forest is the setting for The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot.
Gottsegen went on to share, “When a close friend of mine fell ill, I wrote several short stories for her while she was in the hospital, all of which had a message of never giving up in the face of any obstacle. Over the next two years, I continued to write and shared each chapter during her path to recovery. I was motivated and inspired to write something filled with laughs, love, and excitement! She is now 100% healthy, happy, and strong.”
With so many characters who Rockford meets along his journey, it’s hard to pick a favorite character, but that’s exactly what we asked the author to do. Gottsegen shared his favorite was Apple and I understood why immediately. As Rockford’s daughter, Apple stands out for her personality alone – a smart, sassy chipmunk. Gottsegen said, “She’s very similar to Rockford in many ways but with her own added sparkle of witty fun and intellect. It was enjoyable to write all the scenes when they were together and capture Rockford’s love for her and his family.”
But as with all characters, Apple had a weakness, one she shared with her father. Some might call it fear. But to Rockford and Apple, they weren’t afraid, they were just cautious.
The chapter book is full of life lessons and I have to admit as an adult that at one point I completely forgot that I was reading about chipmunks. Gottsegen does such a great job of bringing real life struggles to these pages, I was enjoying it immensely. I may have even had a tear or two fall from my eye. Okay, I did. Really. Why? Well, I can’t divulge everything of course, but there are themes of father issues, in-law issues, love, and even loss.
In full disclosure for parents of young ones, there are a few moments or recurring things you might want to be ready for in case kids ask questions. Fermented crabapples are a thing with some of the characters from time to time and Gottsegen explains in the book that they have the same attributes as alcoholic beverages. A couple of animals “live together” before getting married. And last but not least, one character asks another if he’d “hooked up” with someone. Now, apparently hooking up doesn’t always mean what I usually take it to mean. Sometimes it just means kissing. There’s no real explanation of what it means in the conversation. And it’s asked by a “kid” character, so there’s that. It’s not a big thing in the book and could easily be skipped over if you are reading to younger kids (page 57).
Not Just for the Kids
As an adult reading this book (some parents will assuredly read this as part of a bedtime routine), I found some real fun nuggets, things my own daughter didn’t fully appreciate. There are nods to The Godfather with a “Don Ribbit” character, reminding me of a similar character in Disney’s Zootopia. Good stuff!
No matter your age, this is a story that is timeless. And even though we are in an animal world, there are references to live-streaming and even going viral on social media.
Ultimately Gottsegen shared, “I wanted to tell a story about believing in yourself, no matter what anyone tells you. In life, we all experience big and small problems, but it’s how we deal with theses issues that define us. Rockford’s actions and communication with all animals, no matter the species, is one from a place of love and respect.”
As for the future, we are looking forward to more Rockford T. Honeypot stories. It seems Gottsegen has been spending time himself thinking about all the different stories that could spin-off of this book. He shared, “There are so many lovable characters who have their own fascinating and exciting stories to tell.” Seeing the Tropland characters on the big screen is another dream of his. Oh, I can totally see it.
For Summer Fun – read below to add more activities along with reading the book – from printable coloring pages to the ultimate acorn treats to snack while reading!
Free Printable Rockford T. Honeypot Coloring Pages
Enjoy these 5 different printable coloring pages that will bring certain scenes to life for kids.
Edible Acorn Treats
Get the kids in the kitchen as part of a Rockford T. Honeypot activity. Chipmunks love acorns after all.
To make this treat you will need a few sweet ingredients. Some may already be in your pantry.
Mini Nilla Wafers
Hershey’s Kisses (we chose the ones with almonds since we were going with a nuts theme)
- Prepare frosting if homemade or place approx. 1/2 cup of store-bought frosting in pastry bag with small tip or Ziploc sandwich bag with a small corner cut. This is how you will easily pipe the frosting onto the acorns.
- Remove wrappers from Hershey’s Kisses.
- Pipe a small amount of icing onto bottom of a Hershey’s Kiss. Immediately press the Kiss onto a Mini Nilla Wafer cookie. Continue with remainder Kisses and cookies and allow the frosting “glue” to set.
- Place small amount of icing on bottom of the butterscotch chip/morsel and place on the top of cookie.
- Voila – an edible acorn treat!