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Nuts to You Hardcover – August 26, 2014
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“A lovely and insightful creation.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[A] tall tale featuring three courageous squirrels. . . . Perkins’s twisting-turning narrative provides plenty of fun; along with their impulsiveness, her characters have warm hearts and generous spirits. Readers . . . will relish the squirrels’ adventures, as well as Perkins’s laugh-aloud illustrations and equally witty footnotes.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Perkins uses language like the best toy ever. …The book begs to be read aloud, except that you’d miss the wacky digressions, the goofy footnotes, and the black-and-white illustrations with their built-in micro-plots. Another completely original and exceptional package from Perkins.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“Perkins elucidates delightfully…This is a small story made larger by the ways readers can enjoy Perkins’s whimsical conception of squirrel civilization. Some deeper themes may prompt readers to question their interactions with the natural world.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“An amazing adventure story full of humor, desperation and hope, executed perfectly. . . . A perfect read for kids 5 to 15.” (Newsday/Kidsday)
“Thoughtful, and amusing . . . Hand this lively tale to both the nature-loving kids and the animal fantasy lovers.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Safe, accessible and laced with gentle philosophizing, this has an edge of poetry that gives it colourful tone and texture.” (Toronto Star)
“The gripping tale of . . . squirrels who embrace adventure in order to rescue one of their own. . . . Generously illustrated with the author’s black-and-white drawings, this is a lively story filled with humour and surprising bits of wisdom.” (Montreal Gazette)
“[An] entertaining story of friendship and adventure...funny and exuberant.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
The silhouette of a lone squirrel stood sharp against the pearly morning sky . . .
No, wait—how about this: Two squirrels trudged wearily along. They were already far from home. They were headed even farther. Darkness settled around them and made it hard to move. Still, they kept on.
That is so gloomy. Does it have to be so gloomy?
Okay, how about:
"Danger?" said the squirrel.
"Ha! I laugh at danger."
You didn't make that up. Someone else made that up.
Okay. You start it, then.
What's the story? It depends on who you ask.
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Nuts to You
Lynn Rae Perkins
The tale (or is it tail?) begins when an astounded human sitting on a park bench discovers that the squirrel sharing the bench with her can speak. Human. After the initial shock wears off, she has a conversation with the squirrel. He hints at having had a great adventure, and she has some time on her hands, so she decides to listen.
“Amid the thick and intertwining boughs, among the limbs, branches, and leafy twigs of our grove,” he began, “the buzzpaths ran…” He paused. “Actually,” he said, ”I think I’ll start with the wolf this time.” His epic adventure begins with Chapter 1: The Squirrel Who Cried Wolf. Yes, you might guess that the story begins when a squirrel faces a predator. He has a miraculous escape, faces obstacles, saves the day, lives to tell his story, and ends with “Nuts to you, my friend," he thought. "Nuts to us all.”
You will enjoy some surprises and a few laughs as you read this funny, heart warming, clever, suspenseful, and superbly well-crafted story by a Newbury Medal author, who just happens to love peanut butter. (End of "blurb")
We will have a "squirrel-bration" during our meeting. The special snack will be "acorns," which are actually Nutter Butter bites attached to Hershey Kisses with chocolate frosting and a chocolate chip on top (recipe found online). The book discussion groups take place simultaneously, then we all meet to share our experiences with each other. I have ordered some plush squirrels to represent the four main characters. We will use a plush dog and hawk to act out the scene during which the main squirrel, Jed, relaxes every muscle in his body, which is a technique from the ancient squirrel martial art of "Hai Tchree," escapes the hawk's talons, plummets to earth, bounces off a dog, and lands in a huge pile of leaves. The author offers a free image download from the book on her web site and invites fans to copy it onto iron on sheets. I purchased several t-shirts at Michaels, which were on sale 2/$5.00 plus the 15% teacher discount, so we will be able to wear a group tee. The web site also offers knitting directions for an acorn hat, which I am attempting to knit in time for the event.
Getting back to the book, it is rife with examples of author's craft, which include strong leads of every type, descriptive language and phrases, a great mix of action, thought, dialogue and description, speech bubbles, author's notes, footnotes, asides, epilogues (5!), and is full of beautiful and meaningful illustrations by the author throughout.
At the end of this roller coaster ride of a story, I thought the author's message was very clear. I laughed to myself as I realized that I had just read an overgrown persuasive essay;)
I dare you not to love every moment you spend sharing this with a young reader....and, oh yeah, "Nuts to you, my friend; nuts to us all..." Thank you, Lynne Rae Perkins.