An odd story about a plucky reporter, an entrepreneurial rabbit and, yes, skiing squirrels stumbles a bit but doesn’t completely crash and burn.
Engaging cover art from Lemaitre highlights the book’s humorous, cartoonish flair as its strongest attribute. Pictures evoke movement and comic reactions to outlandish scenarios, positioning Lemaitre as an illustrator to watch. Ray’s text, however, falters in its rhyme and rhythm and in its unwieldy plot revelation. Though a story about squirrels, it’s impossible to put it in a nutshell, but here goes: Skiing squirrels descend on a town, upsetting the citizens and creating no small amount of chaos. Where are they coming from? Who’s given them skis? What to do? The aforementioned plucky reporter, Sally Sue Breeze, sets out to investigate, hoping to save them from the sad fate suggested by the evil Mr. Powers, who would like to obliterate the squirrels with a vacuumlike contraption. She discovers that a rabbit has been selling the squirrels Popsicle-stick skis and toothpick ski poles in exchange for all of their acorns, and Sally convinces him to return some of the food to the starving squirrels. She also manages to set up a ski area at the erstwhile ski and ski pole factory, while convincing the squirrels to ski only there and not through the town.
A strange story saved by silly art. (Early reader. 5-8)