Aw, Nuts!

Rob McClurkan. Harper, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-231729-2
When it comes to his single-minded pursuit of “the most delicious-looking acorn he had ever seen,” Squirrel makes Tolkien’s Gollum look ambivalent. Never mind that Squirrel’s tree hole is already stuffed to the breaking point with acorns—after he squeezes that one last perfect acorn in with the others, the tree explodes and the chase is on (good thing Squirrel has bright red gym shoes). As the action leaves the forest, it’s clear that Squirrel also has an indomitable will: nothing, whether it’s having to master a pogo stick or being subjected to hugs at a girl’s birthday party, is going to stop him from getting that acorn. Debut author McClurkan knows how to keep the pages turning. His digital images have the crisp, focused aesthetic of vintage cartoons, while the string of mostly single-plane compositions give the sense of an ongoing pursuit. And, of course, the goofy, inexhaustible stubbornness of his wide-eyed hero provides enough emotional accelerant for an army—squirrel or otherwise. Prepare for Squirrel’s recurring refrain of “Aw nuts” to become an oft-used family catchphrase. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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