All Because of the Tail

Sunbird. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781503762855.
PreS-Gr 1–Sometimes labeled rats with tails, squirrels here are fed and allowed to climb on humans. In a sentence that may suffer a bit from the translation, Tulio the mouse asks why the squirrels “get stuffed with nuts, and not me” so when people “shout and scream” at him, the fault must be his wormlike tail. He decides to buy a red-brown wig, or cover, for it so that it looks like the squirrels’ coats (his fur is gray). Confidence boosted, he fails to notice that the wig has fallen off, and approaches a girl who finds him cute—especially with his real tail. He gets a peanut, an instant friend, and dollhouse for a home. As in her illustrations for Stephen Wunderli’s Dear Moon, Di Gravio’s style features uncluttered color-block pictures, here in mostly pale shades against white. The panel where Trulio’s tail detaches is small, hard to decipher, and easy to miss.
VERDICT Even though it downplays the one moment of drama, this low-key book will find some readers who need the message that the right friend will accept you as you are.

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