Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Random House

Hannah Shaw

The front of this book clearly states "Warning: May contain squirrels ...!" so you may want to steer clear if you are harboring a secret squirrel phobia. There is no such explicit warning about the fabulous illustrations inside, but since this comes from the creative mind and talented hands of Hannah Shaw, you should already be expecting delightful things!

When Bob cracks open his package of Nutti Nutts, he is confronted by an orange nut-encrusted squirrel who pops right from the package. If that isn't surprising enough, he then discovers that is no ordinary squirrel, but a special talking squirrel named Erroll. Bob must be a laid back sort of kid, as he isn't terribly alarmed by the talking rodent. Instead, he calmly considers the situation, figures Erroll is probably hungry, and helpfully whips up some peanut butter sandwiches.

Erroll may command the power of speech, but he's still a wild animal! He wolfs down the sandwiches, covering himself head to tail with peanut butter, eschews a bath, and makes a disaster of the house. Unfortunately, this is where Bob's mother's finishes her gardening work and comes inside to discover the squirrel mess. She's not buying Bob's "mess-making talking squirrel" explanation until Errol chirps out a greeting.

Once Bob's mom recovers from the shock of a chatty squirrel, she packs the pair into the car to return Erroll to his natural habitat. Erroll's furry friends are delighted to be reunited with him, and eagerly listen to his adventures. Hopefully, they will all be more wary of nut picking machines. Back home, Bob prepares to eat a bowl of Chew Crunchy Monkey Munchy for breakfast. Oh, that tail peeking out from behind the box can't be good .....

I particularly like the illustration of Erroll wearing his seat belt in the car. Oh, and the little hand drawn orange squirrel drawing that Bob has hanging in the kitchen on the last page. Our kids loved Bob's schematic of Erroll's journey from forest to store, and the fast paced way he hopped about the living room. Okay, it turned out we loved so many bits and pieces of the illustrations that it would be impossible to list them all. And that's what a Hannah Shaw book is! Pure delight.

Check out her previous book, Sneaky Weasel, for more proof.

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