Tag Archives: squirrels

A Nutty Book

2 Jan


When I was at the University of Toronto, I had to cross Queen’s park several times a day to get from class to class. I had to walk briskly to be on time, but I also had to be alert, watchful for the aggressive squirrels that roamed the park, looking for a handout.  They terrified me. Fortunately, Jed, Tsts and Chai aren’t that kind of squirrel.

In Nuts to You by Lynne are Perkins, these three squirrel pals set off on an adventure one day after Jed is picked up by a hawk from whom he manages to escape. A long way from home, Jed is rescued by red squirrels, who speak with Cockney accents. His friends, rather than mourning the loss of their friend, set off to find Jed.

TsTs, Chai, and Jed (who eventually meets up with his pals after having a few adventures of his own) must persuade their friends and neighbors to relocate somewhere safer, due to danger from humans trimming trees around “buzz paths” (utility lines).

This was a fun read that would be a great read aloud, perfect for grades 2-4.

Holy Unanticipated Occurrences!

28 Oct

In 1984, I read Blaise Pascale’s  Pensees in ny 17th century French lit class, and I learned about Pascale’s wager. Now, young people everywhere can learn about it simply by picking up Kate DiCamillo’s newest book


They can also learn about cynics, superheroes, poetry, love, and finding your way home. Holy bagumba!

The story is simple. A young girl rescues a squirrel, whom she names Ulysses,  that has been sucked up by a vacuum cleaner, only to discover that the experience has transformed him into a poet and a superhero. She must save him from his arch-nemesis (her mother) and learn to embrace the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart(her father).

Complementing DiCamillo’s text are K. G. Campbell’s black & white drawings.



I liked this book a lot, although not as much as I liked  The Tale Of Desperaux  or  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  I think it would make a great read aloud. It is fast-moving, and the vocabulary is wonderful. I will add this to the list of books for my teacher read aloud book club, if we ever get it going again. It would also be fun to see how the Kids could take a superhero story of their own, write part, and illustrate part.

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