This rhyming picture book tells the story of a squirrel’s activities and how they relate to the creation of oak trees.
A female squirrel gathers acorns in the fall, burying them beneath the ground in caches. When winter arrives, she holes up in her nest in a tree, but since squirrels do not hibernate—as author Ferry informs readers in her easy style—the squirrel emerges regularly to dig up cached acorns. In spring, baby squirrels are born into the nest, and a new generation takes over. Meanwhile, the acorns the squirrel has not dug up have the chance to germinate (the book’s backmatter, “Nutty Facts,” relates, among other tidbits, that 74 percent of cached acorns aren’t retrieved) and grow into oak trees, thereby continuing the cycle. In this way, using a single squirrel as a focus for readers, the story delivers a larger theme of the role squirrels play in creating oak trees. Illustrator Kang’s broad, soft illustrations, presented in creative perspectives, add to the story’s overall feel of elapsed time—squirrel generations, seasons, and the growth of oak trees are subtly presented. This is especially emphasized by the beginning and concluding double-page spreads; the beginning shows a young white boy with a dog, the ending shows the same landscape but with an elderly white man, a different dog, and more and larger oak trees.
Simple words and soft illustrations enhance a fact-based story of squirrels and oak trees. (Informational picture book. 3-7)