Book Review: Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Mélanie Watt, in Scaredy Squirrel Series Title 3

by DerdriuMarriner

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is title #3 in Mélanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel series. The Kids Can Press picture book reveals a Canadian flying squirrel's hunting perfect seashells.

Scaredy Squirrel clusters activities around his own doorstep:

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach acts as title #3 in the super-popular Scaredy Squirrel series. The 2008-released picture book predictably begins with:
• front flap with nutshell plot summary, plot complication, and three content questions, and with reader suitability advisory (excluding pirates in this case);
• prefatory pages with pre-storytime behavior modification (sunscreen no. 65 in this instance); and
• rear flap with biographical extract sharing pertinent experiences (avoiding encounters with such collective noun-described challenges as flocks of disgruntled pigeons, mobs of famished hammerhead sharks, herds of last-bell holiday shoppers) and fears (jellyfish) and with a self-portrait at work amid wall art.

It considers what Scaredy Squirrel does when everybody else heeds billboard advertising and spends vacations at the beach.

*****

Websites:
http://melaniewatt.blogspot.com/p/did-you-know_12.html
http://www.kidscanpress.com/creators/m%C3%A9lanie-watt/223

*****

Scaredy Squirrel thinks that plastic flamingos, known popularly as lawn flamingos, substitute well for wildlife.

El Sobrante, Contra Costa County, East Bay Region, California
El Sobrante, Contra Costa County, East Bay Region, California

Scaredy Squirrel designs his beach with local resources

 

Collective nouns describe the standard term by which objects and organisms are grouped and measured together. Scaredy excels at lists of such collective nouns which identify his aversion to beaches as: 

  • flocks of seagulls; 
  • herds of sea monsters; 
  • mobs of lobsters; 
  • packs of pirates; 
  • tons of falling coconuts; and 
  • tribes of jellyfish. 

He in fact finds it possible to build his own pleasant, private, safe beach outside his oak tree (Quercus spp) with: 

  • crayons to draw blue skies, palm tree, and sun on poster-sized paper to be propped up by a fallen stick; 
  • feline litter for sand; 
  • flashlight for sunshine since North America's flying squirrels are night-active; 
  • inflatable pool with anti-germs sign; and 
  • plastic flamingo for wildlife. 

 

A red-headed woodpecker changes Scaredy Squirrel's outlook on Operation Seashell Mission.

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Scaredy Squirrel encounters some of what he expects

 

A red-headed woodpecker's "Tock! Tock! Tock!" gets Scaredy thinking about a germ-free, shiny-sided, unoccupied seashell's clear, comforting, real-time ocean sounds. He has everything ready for his Operation Seashell Mission: 

  • beachwear (boots against jellyfish, camera against sea monsters, compass, eye patch for pirates, french fry for seagulls, headgear against coconuts, life jacket, oven mitts against germs, rubber band against lobsters); 
  • map; 
  • passport for Scaredy Orville Squirrel; and 
  • schedule from 7:30 a.m. mail truck pick-up to 6:00 p.m. return. 

But the beach is not deserted between 11:40 a.m. and 11.49 p.m. Scaredy jumps out of the box cautioning a live animal with nut allergy-provoking traces to play dead for two hours but neglects to release the S.O.S. message-stuffed bottle. 

 

Scaredy Squirrel discovers fun beach activities, such as making sand castles.

Sandcastles created on South Padre Island, Texas by Andy Hancock of sandcastlelessons.com
Sandcastles created on South Padre Island, Texas by Andy Hancock of sandcastlelessons.com

Scaredy Squirrel finds something fun wherever he goes

 

Building sand castles, floating in shallow water, sunbathing, and taking pictures keep Scaredy busy, happy, and on schedule. Abilities to face facts and modify behaviors lead Scaredy to copy friendly beach-goers by adding 25 garden gnomes to his private beach. But he must return his perfect but occupied seashell.

North American flying squirrels nudge coastal habitats along eastern and western shorelines. They operate within coniferous and mixed-forest niches. So Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach presupposes beach appeal for Glaucomys sabrinus' and Glaucomys volans' sylvan bio-geographies, life cycles, and natural histories through: 

  • Kids Can Press; 
  • Karen Powers, designer; 
  • Tara Walker, editor; and 
  • Mélanie Watt, author/designer of the Potato Cut-set text's acrylic and charcoal pencil artwork and jacket illustration. 

 

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Mélanie Watt ~ available at Amazon

We know by now that Scaredy Squirrel only feels safe when he's at home in his nut tree. So even though the sun is shining and it's time for a vacation, Scaredy does not want to go to the beach.
Scaredy Squirrel series

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

New World flying squirrels include coastal locations, such as Cape Cod in Massachusetts, among their habitats.

Cape Code National Seashore in Truro, Massachusetts
Cape Code National Seashore in Truro, Massachusetts

Sources Consulted: Scardy Squirrel books sell in English and French

 

Audubon, John James. 1851. The Quadrupeds of North America. Vol. III. New York: V.G. Audubon.

  • Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library at: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/34896937 

Watt, Mélanie. 2008. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach. Scaredy Squirrel Series Title #3. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Tonawanda, NY, USA: Kids Can Press. 

 

Scaredy Squirrel is a New World flying squirrel, of which only two species exist ~

Severn River Flying Squirrel (Pteromys sabrinus), synonym of Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)
J.J. Audubon, The Quadrupeds of North America, Vol. III (1851), Plate CXLIII, opp. p. 204
J.J. Audubon, The Quadrupeds of North America, Vol. III (1851), Plate CXLIII, opp. p. 204
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Three Month Old Male Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys Sabrinus): image by Joel Sartore ~ available via AllPosters

Three Month Old Male Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys Sabrinus)

Photo jigsaw puzzle of Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) on tree ~ available via Amazon

10x14 Photo Puzzle with 252 pieces. Packed in black cardboard box 5 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1 1/5. Puzzle image 5x7 affixed to box top.
Photo Jigsaw Puzzle - Ardea Wildlife Pets

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/16/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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