Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NUTS by Kacy Cook


by Kacy Cook

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5652-0
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Nell, a precocious 11-year-old homeschooler living in Ohio, has her world rocked when she attempts to rescue two abandoned baby squirrels. Her caring parents have their doubts, but the ever-enterprising Nell educates herself from a website. She promises to take meticulous care of them until they can be released but eventually becomes so attached that she disregards what the website squirrel-expert tells her—that she should turn their care over to a wildlife rehabilitator for both legal and safety reasons. Nell lies to both her parents and the expert in order to keep them and ends up learning some harsh lessons. Cook does a nice job of taking a seemingly innocent plot and almost sneaking in (a little like puréed vegetables) much weightier themes of love, honesty and death. This smartly mirrors Nell’s journey; she never knew she’d learn so much about life while trying to raise two baby squirrels. The straightforward, upbeat prose consistently engages readers, and her characters are dead on. There’s more here than meets the eye. (Fiction. 8-12)