Did YOU KNOW?
- Sterling was 11 years old when he found Rascal abandoned in a den by Rascal’s mother. Sterling knew Rascal would never survive alone in the wild without his help. He kept him for one year.
- Raccoons language ranges from 13 to 20 meaningful sounds.
- It has been discovered that the raccoon has the most acute sense of hearing of any North American mammal.
- Sterling as a young teen suffered with Spanish Influenza and later polio. Doctors thought that he would never walk again.
- Sterling built an 18 foot canoe in the living room.
- After Sterling graduated from Edgerton H.S. in 1918, he never returned there to live.
- Although Sterling studied many raccoons during his lifetime, he never had another one as a pet.
- Sterling North wrote RASCAL when he was 57 years old. (He held on to all of his wonderful memories of his boyhood in Edgerton.)
- Sterling renamed Edgerton to Brailsford Junction in his books. He did this to honor his grandmother Sarah Brailsford North.
- RASCAL was published in 1963 and was printed into 26 different languages.
- RASCAL is as popular in Japan as Mickey Mouse is here in the United States. The Nippon Animation Company made a 52 episode cartoon series in 1977.
- RASCAL was made into a movie by Walt Disney in 1969. Although the story is based in Wisconsin, it was filmed in California. The movie is still available to be seen through Amazon Prime, Target.com, ebay, and other individual sellers.
- THE WOLFLING, a biographical story about his father, was the last book published by Sterling North.
- Later in life, Sterling suffered several strokes. He had to type THE WOLFLING with only one finger.
- Sterling passed away on December 22, 1974 at the age of 68. He is buried in Morristown, New Jersey.
- Sterling and Rascal would spend hours in the big Burr Oak tree that was in the backyard.
. Sterling and Rascal spent many hours in this tree enjoying nature. Sterling said, “We were tree dwellers, my raccoon and I, and we rather wished that we would never have to step foot on earth again!”
The tree went down in a windstorm back in 2010. It did damage to the barn.
Juda school teachers, Donna Weber-Harms and Lucy Stuckey, had their bus driver take some pieces of wood from the downed tree. They then had one piece carved into this wonderful raccoon that we have on display. They had another piece lasered with a raccoon. We’re so glad that they helped us keep this part of history.
Jackie Scherrer has been a member of the Sterling North Board and a tour guide since 2018. She is a retired teacher and a very talented artist. She painted the three canvases pictured above. It’s wonderful to have them on display when our students come to visit. Jackie also painted the beautiful picture above showing all of the highlights of Edgerton — Lake Koshkonong, tobacco fields, farm fields and Sterling and Rascal! That painting was used for a billboard during the summer of 2022, our 25th anniversary.
There is ANOTHER North canoe that is on display in the barn. Don North, Sterling’s great-nephew had an old canoe that belonged to his grandfather HERSCHEL NORTH (Sterling’s older brother). This canoe was built at roughly the same time as the one that Sterling built. (Sterling’s canoe had been stored at the Albion Academy where there was a fire and it was destroyed.) Herschel’s canoe was found at a resort in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas in the mid-1960’s. If we were interested in getting the canoe, Don said that he would fix it up and paint it the same green color of Sterling’s canoe. The 15 foot canoe is now on display and everyone loves it!
The very first Sterling North Book and Film Festival was held in 2006. Well-known authors attended and each year a Sterling North Award was presented to one of the main presenters. Helen Thomas, reporter and member of the White House press corps is, no doubt, the most memorable speaker who ever presented at the festival. Authors made small group presentations throughout the day and other authors set up displays of their books in the Tri-County Community Center. Pictured above are Betty Leonard and Jackie Scherrer, both board members, who had a table set up with items from the museum’s gift shop.
Scarlett, a 10 year-old from Florida was given a project to make a diorama about one of her favorite books. She chose scenes from RASCAL.
Alycia, a 4th grader from a neighboring school district, gave a wonderful presentation on RASCAL for her classmates.