Most children’s stories that feature animals as main characters tend to be highly anthropomorphic. From “The Three Little Pigs” to The Incredible Journey, animals stand in for humans, right down to living in houses and sitting in chairs. Not so in Nuts to You, the latest from Newbery-winning author Lynne Rae Perkins. The squirrels in this story behave as squirrels, and their story is very interesting.
The main protagonist, Jed, begins his tale on the day he was snatched by a hawk. Luckily, he manages to escape, and more luckily, his friends see where he lands. They race off to help him find his way back. They are far from home when they discover that humans are cutting branches from trees around the “buzz-paths” (power lines) and the squirrels must hurry back to warn their community.
Perkins describes squirrel life and squirrel thought so perfectly, you can easily imagine what the squirrels in your yard are doing after you have read this book. Even many of their names are what you would expect them to be: Tsts, Chebby, Tchke, etc. There are footnotes for some needed explanation of squirrel-ness, which are funny and delightful. The whole book, including the author’s illustrations, is charming and entertaining,
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through eighth level Catholic school.
August 27, 2014: A previous version of this article included criticism of the book's footnotes, which were located at the end of each chapter in the Advance Review Copy.