Scaredy Squirrel


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About the Author

Melanie Watt is an acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. Her books include the Scaredy Squirrel, Chester and Learning With Animals series, Augustine, Leon the Chameleon and Have I Got a Book for You! She lives near Montreal.

Melanie Watt is an acclaimed children's book author and illustrator. Her books include the Scaredy Squirrel, Chester and Learning With Animals series, Augustine, Leon the Chameleon and Have I Got a Book for You! She lives near Montreal.


It's an indication of how well Watt (Leon the Chameleon) knows her helicopter-parented audience that she's able to turn the phrase "antibacterial soap" into a bona fide punchline. Fearing attack by Martians, sharks, poison ivy, killer bees, tarantulas and/or germs, Scaredy Squirrel decides "he'd rather stay in his safe and familiar tree than risk venturing out into the unknown." But just in case something goes awry, this most anxious rodent also has an extensive emergency kit that includes sardines (to distract the sharks), the aforementioned antibacterial soap and a parachute. Then one day, Scaredy's unvarying and admittedly boring routine is thrown for a loop (it's the emergency kit's fault), and he discovers he's a flying squirrel-an epiphany so momentous that it garners the book's only gatefold spread. Will Scaredy's life be changed forever now that new vistas have opened up to him? Well, sort of. Watt largely dispenses with conventional visual storytelling; instead, she tells the hero's story through a series of boldly graphic and endearingly goofy charts and diagrams (one outlines the anxious rodent's "top secret," four-option plan for exiting the tree in case of emergency). Funny in their own right, the pages also spoof all the sincerely inane worksheets that are the staple of elementary school homework. Youngsters will go nuts over this one. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 3-Melanie Watt's picture book (Kids Can Press, 2006) comes to life in this humorous production about taking risks. After a cute introduction encouraging viewers to wash their hands, David de Vries's announcer-style voice brings the book pages to life. Simple animation of Watt's charcoal-outlined cartoon-like illustrations accompanied by text from the book depicts Scaredy Squirrel and his various fears-germs, killer bees, sharks, Martians, and more-as he stays safely hidden in his tree. Amusing music adds to the fun of the story as the drama unfolds and Scaredy Squirrel is finally forced to leave his tree-only to discover something very special about himself in the process. Optional features include a read-along version, subtitles, and an interview with the author, which even young viewers will enjoy thanks to the many cartoons interspersed within the interview. The teacher's guide offers suggestions for utilizing the DVD in the classroom with activities for both pre- and post-viewing. Viewers will be left wanting more episodes of Scaredy Squirrel and his funny antics, so have the other books in the series available for them to read.-Cathie Bashaw Morton, Millbrook Central School District, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Bound to win over its readers, parent and child, at the outset with its wry wit.--The National Post
Readers of any age will chuckle with recognition at the squirrel's attempts to control his life.--Quill & Quire
The bold, inviting compositions ... and paint-box colors ... add energy.--Horn Book
Watts conveys a difficult theme ... with an energetic playfulness ... (Scaredy Squirrel is) a masterful balance of charm, comedy and serious realism.--Toronto Star
With his iconic nervous grin and over-the-top punctiliousness, Scaredy Squirrel is an endearing character.--School Library Journal
Youngsters will go nuts over this one.--Publishers Weekly

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