Nuts to You

3 CDs. 2:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2015. $30.75. ISBN 9781490651224. Playaway, digital download.
RedReviewStarGr 3–7—This pleasing gambol into the surprisingly charming realm of squirrel life follows plucky Jed, TsTs, and Chai as they journey to and from the realm of reddish, smallish squirrels. Their peaceful existence is disrupted first by a hawk, then a tenacious wolf, and finally by humans and their noisy machines. Perkins's lyrical use of language and subtle explanations of concepts, idioms, and everyday words is as enjoyable as her story of friendship, perseverance, acceptance, and the value of community. Perkins's footnotes are equally charming ("Enemy is such a strong word. It might be more sporting to say 'adversary' or 'the other team.' Sometimes the thing to do is to invite your adversary for cake and lemonade and see if they can become your friend. It can save a whole lot of grief later on."). Jessica Almasy's narration is perfect. Her voice varies between characters—human and woodland—with a timbre that is just squirrely enough to be believable but not nearly so squeaky to be tiresome.
VERDICT This beautifully written work has value as an enjoyable adventure story and as a model of exemplary composition.

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