The Koala Who Could

illus. by Jim Field. 32p. Scholastic. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338139082.
PreS-Gr 1—If Scaredy Squirrel were a koala, he'd be Kevin. Kevin likes clinging to his tree while eating, napping, and resting. When the other animals invite him to come down and play, Kevin stays where it's safe and says no. And so the seasons pass with no change from Kevin, until the day he hears the tap, tap, tapping of a woodpecker on his tree. As his tree weakens and slowly falls to the ground, his friends implore him to "un-cling," Kevin is too afraid and too stuck in his ways—with a crash, he and the tree fall to the ground below. His friends gather about as Kevin lets go paw-by-paw, suddenly feeling "springy and light and happy and bold!" He survived the worst he could imagine and came out just fine. Now when his friends ask him to play Kevin replies, "'Yes, I think that I can….Because life can be GREAT when you try something NEW!" Fun-to-read rhyming text is paired with excellent illustrations featuring varying perspectives, adorable critters, bold colors, panels and full spreads, the right amount of detail, perfect facial expressions, and just enough whimsy.
VERDICT Great illustration matched with fun rhyming text make for a solid tale of letting go and trying something new. Pairs perfectly with Scaredy Squirrel.

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