My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Candelwick Press
easy reader, transitional
Squirrel means very well. He wants to help his friend Mouse collect food, but ends up gathering too much. He wants to play with his friends Turtle, but Squirrel has way too much energy for him. He wants to help Rabbit get a leaf to use for an umbrella, but instead ends up sending him to the pond. As he is about to fall asleep, he realizes he forgot to say goodnight to his friends. He wakes up Mouse to say goodnight, he interrupts Turtle’s counting the stars to fall asleep… but he gives Rabbit a firefly to keep him from being afraid of the dark. He finally settles down after a “good, good, good” day.
This story is broken into four easy-to-digest chapters. Squirrel has some annoying dialog, but it is all part of his charm as a well-meaning but ill-fated friend. In the end, his annoying characteristics are redeemed by the size of his heart. I understand why this title was considered for a Texas Bluebonnet award. Moser’s tale could have been too over-the-top, but the sweetness comes through strong. Gorbachev’s illustrations are cute and add to the understanding of Squirrel and his frustrated friends. This would make a great transitional title for those ready to move on from easy readers into longer chapter books.