Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Read-4-Luck: Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

If you missed the most recent Story Elements post, which focuses on the top ten elements of picture book writing, you can still read Wednesday's post about Story Element #6: Pacing

READ-4-LUCK acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. This fun weekly feature began back in October 2010 and is still going strong 

 = Not bad. Might read twice.
 = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
 = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
 = Awesome! Multiple readings are never tiresome. May just have to buy it.

This week's Read-4-Luck pick is Melanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel.
Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree--it's way too dangerous out there. Find out what happens when he is forced out of his tree by a vicious intruder!

Publisher: Kids Can Press Ltd
Year: 2006
Word Count: 516
Book Level: 3.6
Age: 4-8
Topic: danger, adventure, squirrels,  
Theme: fear


Children identify with the squirrel's fears. They like finding the feared items in the pictures. My 5-y-o daughter said, "He sure looks at the view a lot. And he eats nuts a lot." I asked her how many times and she counted the pictures. See? It's interactive too!

Very fun to read. Not your average story because of the way the pictures and words go. The 3rd spread is kind of scrapbook-esque style by listing a few things Scaredy is afraid of. The 5th spread lists the advantages and disadvantages of never leaving the nut tree. The 6th spread shows the nut tree every day during the week and lists the days of the week. The 7th spread lists Scaredy's daily routine from 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. complete with the clock faces too. This is just a sampling of how this book is not a "normal" story and makes it more fun to read.

This book can easily be integrated into any lesson or even an entire week-long unit from preschool through 3rd grade. You have days of the week, writing techniques (list making), time, compare and contrast (the advantages and disadvantages), animals, fear, first aid kits, list making for steps to take to complete an action (have your students write the steps for something else, like how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). You can do A LOT with this! Compare and contrast his old daily routine with his "new-and-improved daily routine." For 2nd and 3rd grades, teach elapsed time from the daily routines. If I had my own classroom, I would TOTALLY HAVE to find a way to incorporate this into a week-long unit!!!

Different. Clever. Unique. Popular. It turned into a SERIES! A lot of fun. You read this book, you might just get an idea of your own. You never know...

Have any of you read Melanie Watt's other Scaredy Squirrel books? If so, which one is your favorite? (I haven't. I just now discovered this one. But when I did a search for a cover image, I discovered he is quite the popular little squirrel!)

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. I haven't read any of Melanie Watt's books, but Scaredy Squirrel sounds like a fun book to read to kids. :-)

  2. This sounds so cute. I just ordered it.

  3. I like the sound of it too. :)


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