After he finds an orphaned baby squirrel clinging to a screen door, Nathan and his parents decide to care for the animal.
Realizing that there might be more than just one orphan, they search the nearby trees and discover six others. They become foster parents to the litter, a process that is described in limited detail. Nathan, who is almost 8 and depicted as white on the cover, has been yearning for a pet, but his parents assure him that these wild animals are not candidates for the role. Batcat, a neighborhood stray, seems like a more appropriate choice. When the battered old tom begins defending the litter of squirrels and then taking a major interest in their well-being, it cements a developing relationship between Nathan’s family and the needy but independent cat. In simple text, and accompanied by at least one attractive, soft-edged black-and-white drawing per brief chapter, veteran author Walters relates a true tale from his own childhood. Nathan’s contented relationship with his parents provides a quiet, tender backdrop to the squirrel and cat tale. His parents’ matter-of-fact ways of handling these animal challenges are both endearing and instructive as they calmly pick up information from the internet and then put it to best use.
A high-interest story with a gentle message that is sure to appeal to animal lovers. (author’s note) (Fiction. 5-9)