Jennifer Keats Curtis
No. Pages: 32 Ages: 6 to 9
Back Cover: A baby squirrel that has fallen out of his nest suddenly interrupts a spring game of catch. Knowing what to do, the two boys demonstrate how to handle the furry mammal properly and what to do when they find the squirrel’s sibling. Placing them safely in a box, the two boys retreat to the house so as to not to scare the mother away while she recovers her babies.
Matt and Andy are outside in the backyard tossing a football. Matt catches the spiraling ball and Andy yells for him to toss the ball back, but never finishes his sentence. Andy looks down to see a small squirrel climbing the leg of his jeans. Soon, the squirrel, obviously a baby, is tucking in under Andy’s chin, safe and warm.
Matt tells his friend he’ll be back and when he returns, he is carrying a box with old t-shirts on the bottom. He carefully takes the baby squirrel off Andy’s shoulder and places it inside the box. The two boys look for any other babies, and then the tree with the damaged nest. After placing the box at the base of this tree, the boys went inside and eagerly watched what happened next.
Squirrel Rescue is a nice primer on backyard wildlife care. Jennifer Keats Curtis has written several wildlife books for children, including one on owls (Baby Owls Rescue) and another about baby turtles (Turtles in My Sandbox). She has become an expert on writing about wildlife for children.
Baby squirrels falling out of their tree nest is common. Recently, a baby squirrel, now named Violet, fell out of her nest and broke an arm. Matt and Andy do a great job taking care of the two baby squirrels they found. I thought it was interesting that human scent does not prevent the mother squirrel from rescuing her babies, as some animals do.
The illustrations look incredibly life-like. The first time I read the book, I thought the boys and the backgrounds were photographs with illustrated squirrels. The next two times I read this, I came to realize that the entire book is illustrated. Laura Jacques is an award-wining illustrator and it is easy to understand why after seeing what she did for Squirrel Rescue. I think the illustrations are incredibly life-like.
I like Squirrel Rescue because of the interesting story. I did not know the mother squirrel carries her babies. Two young boys stop what they are doing to rescue one baby squirrel and have the foresight to look for other babies. I like that they not only helped the mom find her babies, but they were interested enough to hang out for at least two hours to watch her rebuild and then reunite. Matt and Andy receive an education that can’t be bought. Plus, the boys knew they had stumbled into something important. How many of us would have done what they did?
Squirrel Rescue will appeal to boys and girls in the lower grades, especially if they are doing a report or simply love animals. Kids wanting to know more about the animals in their own yard can start with Squirrel Rescue. There are not many neighborhoods without some type of squirrel. If your child’s school library is in need of good wildlife books, get it Squirrel Rescue. Every child can benefit from reading this book. This adult did.
**Ms. Curtis donates a portion of the proceeds from Squirrel Rescue to Chris’ Squirrels & More, a wildlife rehabilitator who help the author on this book.