cover image The Great Squirrel Uprising

The Great Squirrel Uprising

Dan Elish. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05995-1

Fed up with humans and their litter, a band of squirrels blockades the roads into New York City's Central Park. Ten-year-old Sally saves the squirrel's leader, Scruff, from a policeman's net by sending him off on her skateboard. Through Mort, a mouse who reads, Scruff and his pigeon pal Franklin, tell Sally why the squirrels are taking over the park. When numerous creatures form a wall around the park, the citizens threaten mayhem if they are denied access. At the mayor's request, Sally pleads with the animals to disband; the mayor pledges to install more trash cans in the park and crack down on littering. Even the most obtuse reader will get this book's message--``Don't Litter''--by page five. After that, repeated hokey plot turns hammer on the same theme until the story's unsatisfying conclusion. In the genre of books with predominantly animal casts, Elish's work--as regards plot, characterization and dialogue--lacks the craft and inventiveness of, for example, Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books. Ages 9-up. (Mar.)