A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ol' Mama Squirel is a funny picture book by David Ezra Stein, author-illustrator of the 2011 Caldeott Honor Book Interrupting Chicken. It shows a fierce mother squirrel in the city protecting her babies in their tree, and involves cartoonish violence of squirrels dive-bombing and throwing nuts at intruders, scolding humans and animals by yelling, "Chook, chook, chook!" It's a great, offbeat choice for Mother's Day, and fun for kids all year round.
What's the story?
Ol' MAMA SQUIRREL has lots of babies and guards them closely in her tree in the city. She scolds anyone (cats, dogs, owls, tree pruners) or anything (kites, airplanes) that comes near her tree, shaking her fist and shouting out a stern "Chook, chook, chook!" Then a grizzly bear comes and threatens to eat her "whole family tree." "Not on my watch, buster!" she replies. More than a hundred mama squirrels join her to send him packing, yelling "Chook, chook, chook!" and throwing nuts at him till he flees.
Is it any good?
Kids will love the action and funny expressions and body language of fist-shaking, scowling, scolding Ol' Mama and her kids and friends, who band together to defeat much larger, stronger opponents. The violence (nut throwing) is cartoonish and playful, accompanied by sounds like "PLONK!"
Bold black outlines and soft watercolors capture every nuance of expression and emotion, from rage to fear to glee to pride in Mama Squirrel's great accomplishment in ridding the city of a grizzly bear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how animals protect their young at all costs. Have you hear stories about how campers have to take care to avoid bears looking for food for their cubs?
Why do you think animal stories are so popular with kids? What are some of your favorites?
Have you ever seen an animal defend its young or its home?
- Author: David Ezra Stein
- Illustrator: David Ezra Stein
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
- Publication date: March 21, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 5
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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