We meet Chickaree as a newly mature female and follow her through two mating seasons and two litters. In each, one baby is timid and indecisive and oddly unaware of real danger; both are killed by predators. St. Tamara writes in a monotone, but she uses the narrative smoothly to point up small items of information. Thus we learn that Chickaree's ""sense of smell is so well developed that she can find her food caches hidden under several inches of snow,"" and (when the weeks'-old babies finally open their eyes) that ""since chickarees are curious by nature, keeping them blind for so long is nature's way of keeping the babies out of trouble."" Later, a baby falls and gives the characteristic ""lost"" signal: ""Chickaree has never heard the whistle before, yet she knows what has happened. A baby has fallen out of the nest."" We leave the mother squirrel on a ""terribly cold winter night,"" when her last two youngsters return to her nest, followed by three strangers: ""They all growl nervously for a while, but soon they all snuggle tightly together, warming each other with the heat of their bodies, covered with their bushy tails. . . . At daybreak they go their separate ways."" With soft, reddish-brown drawings, quiet but comfortable.