Scaredy Squirrel

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Scaredy Squirrel Book Poster Image
Frightened-squirrel tale great for helping kids face fears.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers learn a bit about a squirrel's home life, as well as basic outdoor safety, daily schedules, and contingency plans.

Positive Messages

Scaredy Squirrel imparts important messages about facing one's fears in a measured, responsible way that allows you to experience the world, but still think about safety. It celebrates the idea of letting go enough to let yourself take risks, but also have fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's only one character in the book, Scaredy Squirrel, but his mix of fears, concerns, and excitement about the unknown world are portrayed as relatable and realistic.

Violence & Scariness

The subject of the book is general fear, and there's very minor peril when Scaredy Squirrel's confronted with a killer bee and panics momentarily, but he survives unscathed.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents Need to Know that Melanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel is the story of a fearful squirrel who's afraid to leave the tree due to a number of possible hazards, including spiders, germs, and bees. There's a bit of panic when one of his biggest fears is realized, but the outcome's extremely positive, as well as the lessons about the risk in never exploring the world. This book is the first in a series, upon which a TV cartoon series was loosely based. 

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What's the story?

Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of a lot of things: bees, germs, martians, the unknown. He's so afraid that he has his daily routine down to an exact, repetitive science where he never leaves his tree so he never has to deal with anything amiss. (And if he does, there's a plan for that!) But what if something did happen? Would Scaredy be prepared? What would he do if one of his worst fears came true? Would it really be the worst?

Is it any good?

SCAREDY SQUIRREL is a magnificent book written and illustrated by Melanie Watt. It tackles the concerns of preschoolers with a lighthearted tone and a really big message: We can't always control our surroundings, but sometimes that's a good thing. The book depicts Scaredy's life as a humorous series of schedules, contingency plans, and emergency exits/ With the vivid charcoal pencil and acrylic illustrations, it's a vibrant, fun visual read about the reassuring nature of routine that's so important to young kids' sense of safety about the world. But venture out we must, and the tone and pace here are a pitch-perfect nudge for kids who are transitioning into new phases.

This is a book that kids and adults can both enjoy and learn a little something from, but it's particularly helpful during periods of separation anxiety or clinginess, as it reinforces that, even when we're faced with our fears, things can turn out OK -- even great in surprising ways -- if we just open ourselves up to new experiences.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fear. What is something you're afraid of? Have you ever decided to face your fear? If so, what happened? If not, what do you think would help you face one of your fears?

  • What makes stories about animals fun? Does Scaredy seem like any people you know? 

  • Have you ever done something scary that turned out to be fun? What was it? 

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Book details

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