Thursday, November 22, 2012
Bird & Squirrel on the Run, written and illustrated by James Burke. graphix, Scholastic. 2012. $9.99 ages 7 and up
GASP! GASP! THE CAT!
What cat? I don't see a cat.
Don't you know that cats are
responsible for 47 percent of
all squirrel deaths each year?
Hey, you want to fly around
with me? I can carry you."
If you have read many of my posts, you will be aware that I do not profess to be a fan of graphica. It isn't that I don't see its intrinsic value for readers, or its allure. It just isn't my cup of tea. But, artists keep coming up with books that shake my stand on such things. Case in point: Bird & Squirrel. James Burks has created two characters that I found funny, endearing and occasionally manic.
They don't like each other. They have little in common. Bird is laissez-faire about most things: live and let live, enjoy life and most worries are little ones. Squirrel is entirely the opposite: always concerned about where his next meal is coming from, how he will store enough to sustain him through the coming winter, and any number of other niggling worries.
Bird knows his winter is going to be mighty unpleasant unless he gets to warmer climes.Squirrel's hoard has been destroyed in an unsuccessful attempt to keep Bird out of the mouth of a marauding (and humongous) cat. Both know that together they will have a better chance of making it to the warmth of the south, where they should be safe and sated throughout the winter months. The cat has no intention of making their trek easy.
Full of crazy twists and turns, and neverending, heart-pumping action, readers will find themselves flipping pages in double-quick time. No matter what the bend in the road, there is a new surprise in store for the two. Full color art, very expressive characterizations, and attention-getting detail are sure to please its intended audience. It will rarely be found on the library shelf, and is likely to be as bedraggled as the cat by the time kids have had enough of it!