1st Books, 2003, 402 pp.
knows that he is weird when even he compares himself to the other colony's residents, but for the most part he does not care except perhaps in leafless winter. Instead he revels in acting and feeling different. The squirrelly squirrel has made friends with the specie's natural enemies and food competitors the crows. Still the revered elder Jacob suggests he mate and raise little squirrels like everyone else so that he would better fit in with the settlement.
Silver is attracted to Sandy Brown, but she will expect him to compete for her affection as only the strongest survive the maiden call. He does not want to compete and is not too concerned about belonging although he kind of likes Sandy. As Silver prepares for his quest to gain the paw of Sandy, Hawk the predator needs his help as something more dangerous than even he lurks just beyond the squirrel hamlet. Alas no matter whether he saves the day or not, Silver knows if he survives this dangerous adventure, he still will have to compete for Sandy.
Though not a satire SILVER SQUIRREL will in several ways remind readers of Animal farm as the plot plays out on two levels. Obviously the story line is a personification fantasy that provides human characteristics to animals aimed at a 10-12 year old readership. On a deeper level, the tale is a deep relationship drama using a simplistic animal as a symbol of how much one tiny creature can mean to a community as Daniel Ritchie pays homage to the ecosystem. Regardless of the group a reader belongs to, fans will enjoy this delightful story and look forward to the animated version of it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner
Silver Squirrel knows he's different. He is drawn to Sandy Brown, a seemingly gentle, quirky young female, but he's not comfortable in the squirrel colony where she lives.
Silver likes the birds too. Is that normal for a prime and healthy young squirrel? Silver doubts it, but that doesn't stop him from befriending two crows.
When old Jacob encourages Silver to take a mate and act like other squirrels, he resists. How could he ever fit in? How could he ever compete?
It doesn't help that for some reason, he has drawn the relentless focus of the Hawk upon himself. But the ruthless raptor doesn't want him for a meal. Something far worse is brewing on the hilltop overlooking the squirrel hammock.
Now, the time has come that Silver must take his place among the colony, or risk loosing his potential mate altogether. Unfortunately, what he has planned will lead them all to disaster!
Silver squirrel is a celebration of nature. It is a thoughtful exploration of the heart of a common animal and a compelling fantasy adventure. It's the story of one small animal striving for hope in the face of constant danger and societal changes, and as a result transforming himself, his tribe, his friends the crows, and even his enemy, the Hawk.
This report prepared by Dan Ritchie