A star-themed bedtime story—and so much more!
The Unlimited Squirrels’ third series entry offers a “BIG Story!” along with a smorgasbord of squirrelly miscellany (jokes, a quiz, and facts). In the “BIG Story,” Zoom Squirrel dreams of sleeping under the stars for the first time. So, Zip Squirrel summons five other pals to help make it happen. At first the squirrels are uncertain how to help, but one suggests they all offer encouragement since Zoom Squirrel is trying something new (“Being encouraged gives me courage!”). The friends form a squirrel pyramid and chant “GO, ZOOMY!” and “YOU CAN DO IT!” But their encouragement doesn’t quite land. Zoom Squirrel wants “PEACE and QUIET,” not encouragement. The friends assume they’re simply using the wrong cheer so they split up into teams to shout “PEACE!” and whisper “Quiet!” By the time Zoom Squirrel corrects them again, it’s morning and the stars are gone! Having established the series formula, Willems is now free to explore it, and the installments get better and better. The smart design and layout uses color-coding and “emote-acorns” to help emerging readers decipher not only words and textual features, but feelings. The fact-based sections playfully combine photographs with Willems’ cartoon illustrations. In lieu of a bibliography to support the informational content, Willems thanks experts—a nod at citation but one that, unfortunately, doesn’t help readers who want to investigate further. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 76% of actual size.)
Go, Unlimited Squirrels! Go, readers!(Early reader. 5-8)