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Elliot’s Park, Book 1

by Patrick Carman & illustrated by Jim Madsen

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-545-01930-9
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Elliot, a squirrel who wears glasses and clothing and lives in a park with his friends, loves solving problems. When one of the park squirrels observes a human’s birthday party in which a stuffed squirrel is one of the gifts, the furry friends set out on a mission to rescue the squirrel, one Mister Nibbles. These squirrels cleverly distract humans with flashlights, dancing and rodeo-riding stunts, but, oddly, they are not smart enough to see that the unmoving Mister Nibbles is a stuffed animal who talks only when his ear is touched. Cartoonish spot drawings, reminiscent of Chip and Dale, dot many spreads, but do not raise this tale above the merely average. Choppy dialogue, short, stilted sentences and paragraphs that are rarely longer than one sentence seem designed for the new reader, but the huge number of characters and unbelievable plotline will be difficult for that reader to understand. For a much more satisfying fantasy of wildlife in a city park, read Johanna Hurwitz’s charming Pee Wee and Plush (2002). (Fiction. 5-7)