Review: the Scaredy Squirrel books

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Review:  Scaredy Squirrel at Night and Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

Author: Melanie Watts

What they are about (by Holly): Right, I know we only do one review but these two books are part of a series. So this is what they’re about. These books are about a squirrel having to face his fears with lots of different equipment. Scaredy Squirrel at Night is about him having to face a nightmare because he doesn’t want to sleep, and Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is about him having to face his fears of the beach.

Holly’s review: I think these books are really funny but they are probably not my favourite because there are some little mistakes in them that don’t make sense. I love the way it’s written because it’s kind of written like a plan. I also absolutely love the drawings because they look like they’ve been crayoned on the pages.

Sam’s review: Holly and I first encountered Scaredy Squirrel in a tiny mind, body and spirit shop in the Spanish town of Tortosa. We hadn’t heard of him before and enjoyed the craziness of the books, plus it was a challenge to my university Spanish to translate it all into English as I read to Holly. (You can also read about Scaredy Squirrel – aka La Ardilla Miedosa – here:

Back in England, we discovered the series in English at our library and these two books are amongst the ones we have read to date. The format for the books are roughly the same. Scaredy Squirrel is, obviously, a scared animal and comes up with elaborate plans to avoid exposure to his fears. However, these usually backfire and he ends up being thrown in the deep end and managing and becoming  more competent. As an adult I wonder why he doesn’t learn from these experiences and lose his anxiety, but perhaps I am being overanalytical. The sheer details he goes through is reminiscent of a rodent with OCD which is comical but at times quite exhausting to read!

There is good humour here but I do wonder how many of these I could read because they are so similar, just changing the fear being dealt with in each book. Holly’s comment on the little mistakes are small issues with grammar that make the book difficult to read, normally when coming up to the lists. For example, in Scaredy Squirrel at Night we have: ‘A few creatures Scaredy Squirrel is afraid could appear in a bad dream:’ – this needs an ‘are’ at least before the semi-colon and possibly also ‘that’ after ‘Scaredy’. You just stumble on it otherwise. Maybe this is pedantic, but as an editor it feels wrong for a picture book particularly to make me stop reading.

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