January 13, 2017
Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Squirrels certainly are busy little creatures, scampering and jumping, barking and hiding food. Author April Pulley Sayre’s gives a poetic look at an animal most of us know relatively little about.
First Sayre introduces readers to the most common types of US squirrels — the red squirrel, the grey squirrel, the fox squirrel and the flying squirrel. She then focuses on the fox squirrel showing us what it does from down to dusk. Readers learn common behaviors including what they eat and how their food-storing habit affects their environment. An author’s note following the main text discusses the squirrel’s life cycle as compared to that of the trees they inhabit as well as giving more information on how they impact their habitat.
As with many of Sayre’s books, Squirrels Leap would make an excellent read-aloud. The rhyming text is short and straight forward while simultaneously presenting the reader with a great deal of information. The text is short enough to be read quickly which would give a class or other group time to discuss squirrels, habitat, animal movement and more.
Complimenting Sayre’s text are Jenkins illustrations. Jenkins is well-known for his combination of cut- and torn-paper collage and the illustrations in this book do not disappoint. A wide variety of papers lend the illustrations a host of textures including making the squirrels look fuzzy as they scamper among crisp, shiny leaves.
This book is an excellent introduction to squirrels or the topic of how animals interact with and impact their environments. A must for the classroom and the library.