The Squirrels' Busy Year: A First Science Storybook

illus. by Richard Jones. 32p. index. Candlewick. Jul. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763696009.
PreS-Gr 1—Veteran science writer Jenkins introduces the seasons as experienced by a pair of gray squirrels in this follow-up to Bird Builds a Nest. Opening in winter, the simple text sets the scene: "It's cold! The sun is low in the sky, the pond is frozen, and there's snow on the ground." A diurnal owl accompanies readers, observing the squirrels' activities as they relate to the seasons: finding stored food in the winter, eating juicy buds and bulbs in the spring, experiencing a thunderstorm in the summer, and collecting and burying acorns in the fall. The book opens with an author's note that briefly explains the reason for seasons, clouds and precipitation, and thunderstorms. It concludes with "Thinking About Seasons and Weather," a series of follow-up questions intended to prompt discussion and extend the concepts introduced. There's a perfunctory index, too. Jones's stylized mixed-media illustrations are rendered in muted tones and sometimes take small liberties; for instance, gray squirrels are primarily solitary creatures though here they behave as a pair, and the spring maple tree features both "fat juicy buds" and full-grown leaves in a variety of colors including green, orange, and blue.
VERDICT An additional purchase for collections with a shortage of STEM books about the seasons for their youngest patrons.

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