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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Squirrrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep, written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2016. $20.50 ages 2 and up

"Squirrels gather.
Squirrels store.
How many seeds?
More, more, more!

Squirrels stretch.
Squirrels yawn.
Munch the acorns.
Are they gone?"

I am always delighted to learn this team has created another superb book for young readers who love learning about animals. I love to watch the little squirrel who makes his way along the wires above my lane from one neighbor's tree to another many, many times a day. He is never still for longer than five seconds before he moves forward! Now, I know so much more about him.

April Sayre lets us know the constant motion is not unusual ... squirrels have much to do! The rhymes she has created allow her readers to know about those daily habits, the characteristics of these tiny dynamos and the joy they seem to find in what they do. Steve Jenkins, as he has done many times before and will surely do again, fills the pages with carefully constructed paper collages allowing young readers a window into the squirrel's doings. The textures he creates for the animals and the seasonal settings add context to Ms. Sayre's brilliant, descriptive text.  I love that she begins and ends the book with the same four lines. I have put it on my 'bedtime' pile, awaiting the December arrival of my granddaughters for a Christmas visit.

This lively book can certainly be used as a mentor text to show older writers just one more way to share their learning.

To close the book, the author provides additional paragraphs about the squirrel species mentioned.

"A squirrel's tail helps the squirrel balance. A squirrel can stretch or curl its tail to distribute body weight as it climbs. A squirrel may also curl its tail over its head when it rains, helping to keep water off the rest of its body. (This works in light rain, but heavy rain can soak the squirrel.) Many squirrels also communicate with one another by waving their tails."


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