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Literature / The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper

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Trash Day is a very dangerous day.
Life on Gull Island is an almost idyllic for a community of raccoons. The island's dump has no shortage of delicious trash thrown out by the local human population and it has allowed the ringtails to thrive in luxury. All this changes when a new pair of garbage men take over the island's routes, proving to be far more efficient and hardworking than their predecessors. Faced with the prospect of losing easy access to their foodstuffs, the furry bandits embark on a plan to get back their easy lives by stealing the island's garbage.
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A children's novel written by Timothy Foote, the book was also adapted by Hanna-Barbera into an episode for CBS Storybreak.


Tropes:

  • Animated Adaptation: Was made into a thirty minute episode for CBS Storytime.
  • Arc Symbol: Arc Gesture? Much is made of the fact that humans and raccoons share having opposable thumbs. Thus it is that the "thumbs up" hand gesture is given any time any member of the heist team begins to doubt their ability to carry out the plan. A reminder of how capable they are as a species.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: Most of the heist team is hand picked by The Oldest Raccoon, with small blurbs given to a few members such as Big Ben and Fat Franky's status within the community.
  • The Caper: Central to the plot is the raccoons' plan to hijack the garbage truck and use it to steal Gull Island's usable supply of trash.
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  • Civilized Animal: More pronounced in the Animated Adaptation which have the principle characters some clothing. In the original, no real mention is made of the raccoons adopting human habits or inventions, but much is made of them having favorite bits of trash they like to eat. This is actually part of what makes going back to foraging so distasteful.
  • Dinky Drivers: The plan involves a crack team of raccoons stealing the local garbage truck so they can get first dibs on the trash.
  • The Famine: When first cut off from the dump, this is the initial fear of the community. Subverted in that the raccoons still all possess the necessary skills needed to forage and live off the land, so none will starve, but as human trash is much more abundant and what they're used to, this is seen as a distasteful choice. Especially since it implies the raccoons aren't smart enough to access the better choice.
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  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted. While Nip and Tuck's actions as the new garbage men lead unknowingly to the crisis the raccoons are suffering, the ringtails themselves actually understand the humans' actions and don't really see them as malicious, just annoying.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Joshua is the smallest kit in the community, and most of his peers write him off as useless. He becomes integral to the raccoons' plans because he is the only one who figures out how to make a key work.
  • Sliding Scale of Animal Cast: Type 3. The raccoons take center stage for most of the book, with the humans mostly just going about their business. Justified because the raccoons are trying to operate without the humans knowing what's going on.
  • Title Drop: The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper is literally the name the raccoons give their plan.
  • Xenofiction: While we occasionally get to see the plot from the point of view of the garbage men, the bulk of the book is seen through the eyes of wild raccoons, albeit ones who have become acclimated to living near humans.
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