By: Wendy Laird
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: January 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: March 25, 2011
This lovely book with vivid, colorful pictures does not fall into the famous Author! Author!category. In fact, what will spring to mind when you first get a look at the front cover, are the words, Artist! Artist! The pure creativity and artistry in this children’s book is stunning; there are no mundane “commercial” characters or drawings cluttering the pages. Wendy Laird has produced a sweet story, but has gone the extra mile and has accented each page with the most beautiful pictures that have been seen in the children’s book market in a long time.
A lover of nature, Ms. Laird spends time during her week watching the ‘tree-top’ antics of the mighty squirrel. And this story is one that begins on a bright blue, sunny day, when a lovable baby squirrel is born. He has chocolate brown fur and that huge bushy tail that represents the famous “gatherer.” That tail not only offers sheer protection from wind, rain, sleet, and snow when used as an umbrella, but its warm fluffy fullness is also one of the softest places to sleep, as well as a built in blanket to cuddle up with. Squirrels are funny creatures, who somehow have the gift of running up and down trees head-first without missing a step along the way. Unfortunately, they are also extremely curious and that can cause more than a few accidents along the way.
This squirrel, however, focuses his curiosity on the other worlds of his animal friends. He wants to take his time to learn and grow, and find out who he is. Like most teenagers, he wants to discover things, and try to figure out what the correct life is for him to lead. Talking to his animal “cousins” is the squirrel’s primary goal in this thoughtful tale, and he soon says goodbye to Mom and sets off into the unknown world. To be a beaver, squirrel soon discovers that he must really like the wet, cold job of dam building; and, to join the prairie dogs he must be on constant alert - although the tunnels they travel through are far too deep and dark, and scare the squirrel so much that he moves on.
From meeting his close relative, the flying squirrel, to having encounters throughout the forest with other friends, squirrel travels through all their homes and lives in order to find the perfect fit.
This charming tale is not only adorable, but the lessons it teaches about “finding yourself” and setting yourself on your future path in life is extremely poignant. And, yet again, the artwork is stunning. In fact, the pictures make the reader want nothing more than to take a walk through nature and uncover the majestic and interesting world of the little squirrel.
Quill Says: A great book for children. And one that allows parents to become just as immersed in the wonderful story that highlights the true magnificence that stands right outside their windows.