Who Stole the Hazelnuts?: A Forest Mystery

NorthSouth. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735843820.
PreS-Gr 2–When a squirrel can’t find his precious cache of hazelnuts, he visits all the other woodland creatures he suspects might have stolen them. When his search turns up nothing, he walks in despair back to his home, only to discover a wonderful surprise and learn a valuable lesson. The opening pages feature a serene spring day followed by a full-page close-up of a screaming squirrel, demonstrating the sheer terror he feels having lost his nuts. From there, the illustrations deftly complement the story, with Squirrel pointing fingers and the other animals’ faces displaying disbelief at being accused. The forest even turns blue as the defeated squirrel trudges home, reflecting his mood and disappointment. The story is written in verse, with playful rhymes and outstanding complex vocabulary. Further, the exchanges between the squirrel and other animals are rather comical, as the hamster has big cheeks that would make a good hiding place, and the wily rabbit is at risk of being arrested. Beyond that, the story proves a valuable lesson for children about the importance of personal responsibility and saying sorry.
VERDICT A fabulously illustrated tale, this fun and educational story is perfect for most young readers.

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