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Squirrel and John Muir Hardcover – August 26, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4–Floy, nicknamed Squirrel, lives in the Yosemite Valley with her parents who own and operate a hotel. Her father hires John Muir as a handyman, and his knowledge of the animals, plants, and geology of the region captivates the feisty girl. He spends hours outdoors with her, showing her how to examine insects under a magnifying glass and to recognize glacier trails. But his naive, good humor and rugged, good looks also capture the attention of visitors. A rift develops between John and his boss, so the naturalist decides to move on. Squirrel is devastated but somewhat mollified when he shows her his special mountainside perch, where he assures her she will have her "best thoughts." The afterword explains how this fictionalized retelling of an actual relationship reveals much about the compelling founder of the Sierra Club. Both his gentle personality and steely determination to see his beliefs recognized by his peers come through clearly. On the other hand, Squirrel seems persistently petulant and often downright rude; the abrupt conclusion leaves readers wondering about this rather unlikable heroine. McCully's sure watercolors capture the stunning natural beauty of the area and provide a majestic backdrop for the small figure of Squirrel. This offering is best used to introduce Muir to budding naturalists or to supplement geology and conservation units.–Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. Once again, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner Mirette on the High Wire (1992) makes a wild, small girl the center of stirring picture-book historical fiction. Floy "Squirrel" Hutchings, six, has always lived in the Yosemite Valley. In 1868, when John Muir finds a job in the hotel owned by Floy's father, the fierce, lonely kid defies the newcomer. But Muir's love for the natural world is contagious, and soon he's teaching Floy how to look closely at the rocks, trails, animals, birds, and plants around her. McCully's beautiful, double-page watercolor landscapes, many in strong shades of green and brown, show and tell how the great conservationist helps Squirrel discover the amazing world where she lives, from the tiniest ant to the towering mountains and valleys formed by glaciers. In an afterword, McCully talks about Muir's later work (he helped create Yosemite National Park and founded the Sierra Club) and about Floy's short life. The contrast between the child's "glowering loneliness" and the rich solitude she finds in nature will move young wilderness lovers profoundly. A bibliography is appended. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374336970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374336974
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
All of characters peopling this work actually existed as was and still are the geographical locations. The author has taken this information, the different personalities and traits of each individual character and blended them together into a story that might have been.

This tale is mainly about Floy Hutchings, whose nick name was Squirrel due to her Tom Boy ways, rebellious nature and general free spirit and her encounter with America's most famous Naturalist, John Muir. Around 1868 the Hutchings family owned a hotel and what we would now call a "dude ranch" in the Yosemite valley where Floy pretty well ran wild, causing trouble for not only her family, but also rather annoying the tourist who came to visit. "A very strange little girl," it was noted by more than one visitor! The Hutchings family needed help in constructing some buildings and when John Muir showed up at the front door seeking work he fit the bill, as he was rather skillful in constructing, inventing and handy with tools.

Muir had come to the area to observed, gather facts, write and publish his theories that the region was originally formed my glaciers; a fact which was not accepted in the scientific world at that time.

This entire book is the story of the possible relationship between this wild and rebellious young lady and John Muir who passed his love of nature, the land and his philosophy on to young Floy. Muir was about 30 years old at the time and had not come into his own and was not internationally known as he later become. This story is a sweet one, well told emphasizing the love, wonder, delight and tenderness Muir had toward nature and his ability to pass it on to the next generation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book knowing only what the Amazon description said. It was a gift for the daughter of dear friends. It could not have been a more perfect book!

Beautiful illustrations, a tender story, John Muir and a plucky girl named Squirrel - what's not to love?
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While the story alone is enough to engage even the most rambunctious children aged 4-8 and lead them to study nature, author-illustrator Emily Arnold McCully's natural watercolor artwork makes the words on the page come alive and awakens a yearning to experience nature too. There is more of the main character, a girl nicknamed "Squirrel," in most of us than we would like to admit! The book's images show us a spritely dynamo of a girl who goes from 'rebellious' to 'inquisitive' as her mentor, John Muir, a gentle giant of a man, teaches her many object lessons and observational skills in the great outdoors. This book won the 2005 Giverny Award, given annually for the best children's science picture book. McCully's artwork gives us a sense of moments of self-discovery in nature, frozen in time. In the story, Muir honed her powers of observation by his own example. He had not lost his childlike sense of wonder, even though, when he arrived at her father's hotel, SHE almost had. The sheer joy of studying nature with Muir gradually replaced her delight in causing trouble. Near the end of the story, Floy (Squirrel) even became a nature guide for the tourists who visited the Yosemite Valley. The torch had been passed to another generation.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is about John Muir--an early naturalist in Yosemite Valley who founded the Sierra Club--and his young daughter called "Squirrel" This beautiful picture book is designed for early elementary. I would put together information about Muir--e.g., [...] --along with photos of Yosemite Valley so the students could imagine what it would be like to want to protect the land. This book would make a good historical bridge to science and environmental studies.
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