Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

illus. by Steve Jenkins. 40p. Holt. Nov. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805092516. POP
PreS-Gr 2—Sayre introduces four types of squirrels in this rhyming nonfiction picture book. The gray squirrel, the fox squirrel, the red squirrel, and the flying squirrel zigzag across the branches and the book's pages. "Nose for sniffing./Jaws to chew./Eyes for looking/back at you." The pictures illustrate the creatures exploring their world, sniffing at flowers, chomping on acorns or seeds, and pausing at the creek to drink. Squirrels can hide under their tails, using them as umbrellas, when it rains. They also use their tails for balance or even as a flag. They have "paws for climbing./Paws to pick./Paws for cleaning./Paws run. Quick!" While there is a smattering of information in the main text, the bulk of facts are located in the back matter. Topics there include "Tails as Tools," "Early Life," "Feeding Times," and "Squirrels: The Planters." Children doing reports will learn about what the rodents eat, where they live, what scientific family and order they belong to, and how they contribute to the ecosystem. Jenkins's artwork is done with ink and cut- and torn-paper collage, produced in such a way that the pictures appear realistic and almost totally hand-drawn. Each page has merely four lines of text or so, with the rest of the layout reserved for the brilliant artwork.
VERDICT A fine introductory and informational book that would be equally at home in picture book and nonfiction collections.

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