cover image Nuts to You

Nuts to You

Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-009275-7

Newberry Medalist Perkins (Criss Cross) writes a clever, off-kilter story of community support in this tall tale featuring three courageous squirrels. A crisis occurs when gray squirrel Jed is swept up by a hawk. Jed’s friends Chai and TsTs (it’s “the ‘Emma’ of squirrel names,” Perkins explains) rush to find where he’s (safely) landed, but they’re soon distracted by impending danger: humans trimming trees around “buzzpaths” (power lines) pose a threat to their habitat. Somehow, TsTs, Chai, and Jed (who eventually meets up with his pals after having a few adventures of his own) must persuade their friends and neighbors to relocate somewhere safer, not an easy task given the nature of squirrels (“Getting squirrels to listen to reason is like getting a tree to drop its nuts at your front door,” admits one). Perkins’s twisting-turning narrative provides plenty of fun; along with their impulsiveness, her characters have warm hearts and generous spirits. Readers, especially animal lovers and the environmentally minded, will relish the squirrels’ adventures, as well as Perkins’s laugh-aloud illustrations (not all seen by PW) and equally witty footnotes. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)