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by Janie Bynum & illustrated by Janie Bynum

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2382-2
Publisher: Candlewick

The setting is Moosejaw County where two neighbors have nothing in common. Nutmeg is a vivacious red squirrel; she’s loud, sociable and dances each night to evening music. Barley, a gray mouse, is contemplative, an avid gardener, solitaire player and sips his tea alone. He enjoys music for relaxation. In two words, they are the “odd couple” of animal land. Nutmeg finds a gift of flowers on her doorstep and visits Barley to thank him. She misunderstands his squeaky, sneezing voice and returns to her tree miserable for days. She visits again only to find Barley ill and feverish. In the switch to caregiver, Nutmeg also discovers the source of her dancing music and the key to learning how to get along with others. Bynum’s lush watercolors are textured with soft pencil lines and pastels; she uses fall hues beginning with acorn and oak-leaf endpapers and abundant small details. The universal need for flexibility in successful relationships is the core of this simple colorful story. (Picture book. 3-8)