Donut Feed the Squirrels

Random/Graphic. (Norma and Belly). Sept. 2020. 112p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781984895837.
K-Gr 2–Resident squirrels Norma and Belly are thick as thieves, in addition to being actual thieves. Having burned their pancakes, they are lured outside of their tree-trunk domicile by the sweet scent of a doughnut truck that’s set up shop. With the help of a couple of crafty accomplices, they plot to steal doughnuts for a giant party. Song uses negative space and highlighting to create contrast between the fuzzy masterminds and their environments. Her watercolors are gentle but expressive, as are her inked shapes. All four squirrel protagonists have distinct silhouettes, including Gramps, an older fellow with huge rectangular glasses, and Little Bee, who resembles the letter B. Onomatopoeia brings the squirrels’ antics to life: Thunk, boing, splat, crash, screech, woosh, spritz, ding, and shhhhh accompany the silly animal slapstick and the sounds of the truck’s automated machinery. The humans of the story—the doughnut maker and a neighborhood child who loves to glide around on roller skates—are largely oblivious to the squirrels’ hunger-fueled schemes. Everyone comes out ahead eventually, resulting in an amusing tale of friendship, teamwork, and unintended consequences. Word balloons are generally large and clearly placed, with most of them using fewer than five words each. Young readers will enjoy using context clues to predict how characters’ will behave.
VERDICT Independent readers will devour this sweet and scrumptious heist story.

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