A sensitive tale of loss, friendship, and courage.

THE BOY AND RED SQUIRREL

A TALE OF FRIENDSHIP BONDS

In this children’s book, a boy wonders how to help his friend, a red squirrel, when new construction threatens her home tree.

Johnny, a little boy, is happy to learn that soon, new houses will be built in his area, which could mean new friends. Going off by himself as usual one day, he notices a red squirrel who is busily gathering and eating nuts. She’s shy at first, but Johnny’s quietness builds trust, and she tells Johnny about herself. The boy admires the squirrel’s beauty and calls her Nutting for her love of nuts, her favorite food. The two become friends. Nutting learns to trust the boy, showing him her home tree, and Johnny is always careful to respect her: “She was wild but fragile. Johnny learnt to be gentle and kind. He felt he was the protector and should care for her.” One day, though, the new construction begins, and Johnny is alarmed to realize this will threaten Nutting’s home. He tries to think of a substitute that will keep her nearby. Perhaps the small playground down the road will have a good bush or tree or, failing that, the city park farther away. Though sad for Nutting, Johnny vows to keep visiting her no matter what: “Changes would come, but the two friends were determined to stay together.” Li (Philo, Our Dog, 2013) tells a sweet story tinged with melancholy, though it ends on a brave note. There is simply nothing to be done about the new construction that will destroy Nutting’s beloved home tree, and, unlike many children’s books, there is no magical or last-minute solution that can protect it. Johnny hopes to make something in his backyard out of a carved wooden stand, but his creativity founders on the reality of what squirrels need. This makes his determination to help all the more moving. Li’s softly colored, attractive illustrations effectively underline the story’s poignancy. A small quibble is Li’s unidiomatic use of “the land,” as in “a house built on one side of the land.”

A sensitive tale of loss, friendship, and courage.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4575-5692-0

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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