Hi readers, something a little more childish today but also pretty brilliant. What I love most about book blogging is that I get the chance to read so many books from so many different genres and I know that someone out there will gain something from me posting my thoughts on it. I’ve felt a little bogged down in reviews the last few days so it’s a little bit of a sigh of relief to relax and get a book a little simpler reviewed for you today.
‘Such an animal is difficult to tame and always likely, when suddenly alarmed, to give our finger a nasty nip with its teeth.’ While dipping into The Children’s Encyclopaedia of 1910, Axel Scheffler came across a small but indispensible guide to procuring and caring for your pet squirrel. Intrigued by the unlikely notion of a child attempting to keep so wild an animal, Axel created a series of delightful, beautifully finished illustrations to accompany the text.
I immediately adored this book, not only are the illustrations utterly wonderful but they are intelligent, charming, clever and a little silly. Although this book is really aimed at adults I think because it is a little tongue-in-cheek a younger Lizzy would have absolutely loved this little book. At the back of the book you see that the inspiration was taken from a children’s encyclopedia written around the early twentieth century when it was perfectly acceptable to keep red squirrels as pets, not the case now I must add. Having said that I think this book would be loved by both audiences because despite it’s slightly mocking nature there is certainly nothing unsuitable for a younger reader.
The language is simple to read, and the writing moves quickly and I liked that it isn’t patronising which some children’s books can be at times. Having a headteacher of a primary school for a parent means I’ve read a fair few and they can be tedious. I liked the way that each page conveys something one must do to care for a pet squirrel, complete with Axel Scheffler’s idea on how this might look – with a couple of little twists too. Despite being a very short book it manages to get a lot in and be a really enjoyable read. The illustrations are beautiful as to be expected from the illustrator of the much adored The Gruffalo.
If you need any more persuasion Axel and the publishers, Faber & Faber, are donating money from each copy to red squirrel conservation in the UK which is a lovely added touch. I think this book is perfect as a stocking filler, or as a birthday present for a little one, or treat yourself. It’s a lovely tale and one I’m glad to have read.