Posts tagged ‘squirrels’

LOOKING BEYOND GROUNDHOG DAY

Margot gets an unexpected visit Nature in Quebec, Pictures of Astonishing Wildlife Book 1

Written and photographed by Lieve Snellings

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A charming picture book that combines a heartwarming tale of friendship between a groundhog named Margot and two sisters, and amazing facts that feature the wildlife of Quebec. Lowieske and Marie are two sisters native to Belgium who vacation in Quebec. They share their feelings and enjoy adventures together. Margot keeps her own journal. She shares information about her distant relatives, the squirrels. Readers become aware of the many similarities among humans and the groundhog families.

I found the tale of Eufrazie, the squirrel hairdresser, particularly amusing. Margot enlightens us with photos of the hairdos Eufrazie creates for all the animals who are cheering for the Canadian women in the World Hockey Game. I won’t reveal the winner, but as the sisters get ready to depart for Belgium, they are already looking forward to more adventures with Margot and her animal friends next year.

This beautiful book can be used as an introduction to nature for younger children. There is quite a bit of interesting information about the wildlife of Quebec. As such, the book is a good beginning reader that will sustain interest due to the nice blend of fiction and nonfiction. Children can easily empathize with Margot and her wildlife friends. I would particularly recommend it for children in the six to nine age bracket.

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A STICKY SITUATION

Andy the Spider: Captured (Volume 1) 2nd edition

Written by Samantha Rindfuss

Charming chapter book for lower middle grade students focusing on a somewhat unusual grouping of large and small animals. Andy and his sister Emily are sibling spiders who often find themselves at odds. Emily is an expert web weaver, and Andy can’t seem to catch a meal so he often uses his speed to snatch Emily’s food. When Emily disappears, the timid Andy goes off to search for her. This trek into the forest results in a host of adventures and intrigues told in first person by a cast including owls, squirrels, fireflies, a hamster, a porcupine, a skunk, a caterpillar, and a coyote. Two human siblings alternately provide the spiders with a source of hope and fear.

The plot has lots of twists and turns in its 120 plus pages. Rindfuss leads the reader on a roller coaster of emotions but also supplies ample amounts of humor. Animals are infused with human character strengths as well as flaws. Harry the villain owl is a classic bully. Will the laws of the forest ensure justice? Do Andy and Emily resolve their differences and what lessons will their harrowing experience teach them?

Perfect book for beginning readers as well as reluctant readers who enjoy adventure stories with animals. Good discussion book for a teacher read aloud.

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OZETTE’S ODYSSEY

Ozette’s Destiny: Tales From Farlandia

Written by Judy Pierce

Ozette's Destiny pic

Ozette is a beautiful white squirrel marked with just a touch of gray down her back and on her head. She has come to the forest known as Farlandia on the advice of her grandmother, The Divine Miss Piddlewinks, who had given her a golden acorn. Ozette had been blamed for the encroachment of humans into their world because she was different from other squirrels. Upon reaching Farlandia, she planted a golden acorn. The forest bloomed with life, fairies, elves, nature, royalty, and all sorts of mythical creatures.

This book will entertain anyone from age seven through seventy. Its characters spin a tale of adventures that teach many lessons, cooperation, team work, loyalty, bravery, self-sacrifice and numerous others. At the beginning of the book we meet a scruffy white dog named Duchess Zorina who got lost while exploring outside the palace of Queen Beatrix. This turns out to be the beginning of Ozette’s adventures as she and her friends rescue “ DK.” Ozette gets to ride on a unicorn to visit the palace. The Queen insists on rewarding Ozette, giving her a crown and making her queen of the forest. Ozette has long been the humble caretaker of the forest, and her friends involve her in many of their foibles. She experiences life as a hummingbird, rides a parachute, and has her fur dyed pink! She remains a steadfast friend and never deserts a friend in need, even when he has been sprayed by a skunk! Like a true mother hen, Ozette feels a responsibility for all the creatures of the forest. She does not fear responsibility, but she is never overbearing nor does she want to impose her will upon others.

There are many touches of humor. Oliver’s boxer shorts disappear only to emerge as an elaborate bungee jump game for Ozette’s coronation festivities. The spiders weave an elaborate web parachute for her that has been dyed lavender. The Spice Squirrels are singing on stage, while birds and cicadas maintain a steady beat! Oliver, the elf has been busy in his kitchen baking all sorts of goodies. In fact, the author provides a list of delicious recipes that the reader will enjoy making and eating after reading the book.

Young children will enjoy the book if it is broken up into chapters as a read aloud. Older children and adults will fly through its approximately 160 pages as the fast paced story will compel you into quickly finishing it. I am looking forward to reading many more of Ozette’s adventures and the nuggets of wisdom that she drops for us.

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