Don’t let her size fool you: Ol’ Mama Squirrel is as fierce as any lioness when it comes to protecting her young.
Nestled in the safety of a tree hollow, Mama’s babies are safe and sound as she fends off any perceived threats to their well-being. “Chook chook chook!” she scolds when a kite, a dog, an airplane or even an arborist come too close. She seems to meet her match, however, when a fearsome bear is undeterred by her scolding and even withstands being pelted by her hoard of acorns. “I’ll eat your whole family tree,” he threatens in a brilliant spread with an aerial view showing the bear trying to climb the tree to reach the squirrels’ nest. “Not on my watch, buster!” Ol’ Mama Squirrel declares, and then she calls to all of the area squirrels, who add their own scolding voices to hers in a scene reminiscent of the little fishes’ triumph in Leo Lionni’s Swimmy (1963). It takes a village, as the ol’ saying goes. Kids will go nuts for this title—and in a metafictive turn, one can only imagine that Stein’s Little Chicken from his Caldecott Honor–winning Interrupting Chicken (2010) would love it, too, given its focus on keeping little ones safe.
This effervescent tale brims with humor and vibrant characterization. (Picture book. 3-7)