Saturday, August 16, 2014

Squirrels Are Fun in Nuts to You

Premise: The adventure begins when Jed the squirrel is captured by a hawk. Managing to escape from the in-flight hawk's talons, Jed fears that he will never see home again. Little does he know, that his friends are setting out to rescue him.

Title: Nuts to You
Author: Lynne Rae Perkins
Length: 272 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 5-8
Format: Digital ARC provided by Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss
Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Three adjectives that describe this book: adventurous, fanciful, interesting

A fun squirrel story with themes of friendship, adventure, acceptance, and protecting trees. I really enjoyed the relationships between the 4 squirrel friends, and the way they joked with one another was great fun. There were some great observations about life as a squirrel. I also enjoyed the straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is authorial voice (up until the weird, lengthy sequence of author's notes and epilogues).

Unfortunately, a few bizarre choices made Nuts to You really difficult. It looks like a book that is aimed at grades 3-5, but quite a lot of it was too hard to read. For instance, two of the main characters are TsTs and Tchke. Really!?!? It makes no sense to put such a barrier in the way of  young readers. Even more challenging, was the crazy squirrel dialect:
"Wair y'fromm, then?.. Oim Chuck, roight?"
"Oim Tsam... En oo er yu?"

If you can pronounce these words easily, it certainly makes the character voices fun, but as a 5th grade teacher, I know that dialect is insanely hard for kids. That's why I can't suggest Nuts to You to most elementary readers.

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