Written by Jennifer Keats Curtis
Illustrated by Laura Jacques
Andy quite unexpectedly becomes an animal rescuer one afternoon when he and his friend Matt are tossing the football around. A baby squirrel climbs up his pants and keeps climbing until he is perched on Andy’s shoulder. The boys think the baby could have been blown out of its nest in a thunderstorm. When they look around, they find another juvenile. Fortunately, Matt knows what to do. He gets a box, an old blanket and heavy gloves. The boys carefully make a temporary nest for the babies and then go in the house, so the mama squirrel will feel safe. They watch the mama through binoculars while she repairs her nest and carries her babies to the fixed nest.
This book provides a model for how to handle injured animal. There are cautions and warnings in the text such as ‘Matt knows squirrels don’t make good pets.’ Coming from a young character, rather than an adult, this warning is more likely to make an impression on a young reader.
The paintings that illustrate this book are beautiful and capture the personalities of boys and animals.
It is an effective class read aloud with its cute baby pictures and could be especially helpful if a group is going to visit a rescue center or doing an environment unit. A good reading activity or discussion starter is to list all the things the boys do to help the squirrel family. If a field trip is out of the question, check out the link in the back of the book to Chris’ Squirrels and More. She has a video tour of her squirrel rehab clinic: (http://www.squirrelsandmore.com/)
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