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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Scaredy Squirrel has a birthday party, written and illustrated by Melanie Watt. Kids Can Press, 2011. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"A few surprises
Scaredy Squirrel
is afraid could
spoil the party:

Can it be five books already? That Scaredy Squirrel just never gets old! I am in awe of authors who can maintain characters and make them seem new, even though they have written numerous stories about them.  Melanie Watt does it in spades...with Scaredy and with Chester.

It is such a joy to sit with a young reader and share this book. After all, next to Christmas, birthdays are about the most important day in the year of a young child. It is the same for Scaredy, although he must deal with his many foibles before being truly able to enjoy it. The poor guy!

Scaredy has something to say before we begin:

"WARNING! Scaredy Squirrel insists that everyone put on earmuffs before reading this book."

Consider yourself suitably informed. The illustrations are detailed, humorous and faithful to Scaredy's picky personality. There are checklists, maps, a top secret file and the requisite invitation. With no plans to invite anyone but himself, he's all set...until he gets a birthday card from Buddy. It seems only fitting that Buddy should be on the list. However, more planning must then be done....and it's all in the details. There are good and bad ideas for conversation topics, as well as the DOs and DON'Ts of partying. The schedule must be considered and plotted:

"1:09  Make small talk.
1:19   Play a quiet game of dominos."

Once planning is complete, Scaredy awaits Buddy's arrival. Oh boy, he brings along some 'party animals' to help Scaredy celebrate! Despite Scaredy's many efforts to gain control, the party goes on around him and everyone has a wonderful time. When the time comes to cut the cake and open his surprise gift, Scaredy has a change of heart for next year's party.

He's already making the plan!  Isn't that what we would expect of him?

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