cover image Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

April Pulley Sayre, illus. by Steve Jenkins. Holt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9251-6

The team behind Woodpecker Wham!, Eat Like a Bear, and other animal-centric books returns to study the ubiquitous, always-on-the-move squirrel. Both contributors are at the top of their game, capturing the habits, characteristics, and energy of squirrels in meticulous rhymes (“Meet the squirrels./ Gray. Fox. Red./ Flying squirrel/ overhead”) and equally precise paper collages. Brushy, textured papers readily evoke the squirrels’ soft fur, their grassy environs, and animals they coexist with; a beaver with matted fur hogs the foreground of one scene, while a bird of prey soars menacingly in another: “Paws for climbing./ Paws to pick./ Paws for cleaning./ Paws run. Quick!” In addition to paws, Sayre touches on how squirrels use their tails and other body parts, the gathering and storing of acorns, and behaviors many readers will have witnessed, such as rapid chases around tree trunks. A closing section thoroughly explores details about squirrels alluded to in the verse, and a closing image of a squirrel curled up in a nest might just help calm children who are feeling a bit squirrelly themselves. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt. (Nov.)