________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 33 . . . . April 29, 2011


Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party.

Mélanie Watt.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-468-5.

Subject Headings:
Squirrels-Juvenile fiction.
Birthdays-Juvenile fiction.
Birthday parties-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 5 / Ages 4-10.

Review by Robert Groberman.

**** /4



Birthday (party of 2) Plan

Bigfoot is a huge party crasher!
Build a house of cards so he stomps on that instead of the tent.

To avoid being taken for a ride, attach carrot to fishing rod to lure away ponies.

Confetti gets out of control. Keep it away by celebrating under cover!

Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party is Mélanie Watt's fifth Scaredy Squirrel storybook, and she continues to make Scaredy an interesting character for young children while, at the same time, challenging them to make sense of a story told in a unique way.

internal art      As in the preceding Scaredy Squirrel stories, much of the text is presented in detailed illustrations containing large print checklists, maps, and party invitations. For example, in planning his own birthday party, Scaredy displays in a two-page spread, his birthday party checklist, which serves as a table of contents for these two pages. These pages include his birth certificate, party colour samples, tuxedo cleaner's tag, cake recipe, breathing chart, and party invitation. Each document is fully illustrated, and readers can learn a little bit more about Scaredy and a little bit more about reading (fictional) nonfiction documents.

      As Scaredy plans and over-plans for his party, preparing a schedule which documents how party activities will change every three minutes and mostly including that he "sit quietly." Of course, things do not go as planned, and his single party invitation is accepted by his dog friend Buddy who brings along many other friends to create a large celebration for Scaredy. Scaredy discovers that all his worries about party disasters were unfounded, and he ends up just having fun.

      Mélanie Watt captures children's interest in planning the perfect birthday party, and her writing appeals to their sense of humour with Scaredy's worrying and overreactions to simple situations. Grade three students can read Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party for themselves while children of all ages will enjoy having this book read aloud to them.

Highly Recommended.

Robert Groberman is a grade three teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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