Nuts to You
By Lynne Rae Perkins
Expected publication August 26, 2014 by Greenwillow
Jed is a very special squirrel. He has two of the best friends one could ever ask for. But when Jed is snatched up by a hawk, he never expects them to go after him. Lucky for him, his friends are determined and resourceful. When the three friends end up uncovering a mystery that presents a danger to their homes, they must work together to protect everyone they love.
I don't know why I keep forcing myself to read animal fantasy - it's just not my style. Maybe it's because some of surprised me and become among my favorite books. Maybe it's because I've enjoyed them more in my recent past. Maybe it's because they're extremely popular with middle grade readers and I'm trying to read more middle grade books.
Whatever the reason, I found myself breezing through this upcoming title recently. Perkins is a Newbery Award winning author, so this book was already on my radar when I saw it pop up on Edelweiss. I figured it would be a quick read (the e-galley is just around 100 pages) and it features illustrations by the author, so I decided to just plow through it.
That probably sounds like I didn't enjoy it, and that's not quite true. Though I'm still pretty convinced that animal fantasy is not my thing, I thought this was a pretty cute story for the most part. I like that Perkins is presenting it as a tale told directly to her by a squirrel, which she has translated and annotated for humans to enjoy and learn from. This book is billed as The Incredible Journey with squirrels and I think it's a pretty apt description, though our three main heroes do not spend a huge amount of time apart (I seem to remember each of the animals in Journey having a little solo adventure). I enjoyed that they encountered new kinds of squirrels, though that squirrel dialect was quite difficult to read. I loved the innovation the squirrels use when they want to rescue their friends and families at the end - very smart, and definitely teaches kids how to use your strengths. I did feel that the message got a little heavy towards the end, which pulled me out of the story a bit. I'm not sure if kids will have the same problem, but it was distracting for me.
Overall, not really my kind of book, though I can see its appeal and think it definitely has potential as a great read-aloud.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.