Friendship in the Forest: Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins

Please welcome our newest reviewer, Lisa, who’ll be recommending her favorite children’s books!

Nuts to You is the newly released book by Lynne Rae Perkins, the 2006 winner of the Newbery Medal for her book Criss Cross.

Occasionally, I read a book that begs to be read aloud. This week when I picked up “Nuts to You”, I knew from the very first page of the author’s note that this book was going to be added to my list of recommendations for good read alouds! “Nuts” is a short chapter book aimed at grades 3 – 7 but children as young as 4 -5 years old would enjoy hearing it read aloud.

Our story opens as an elderly gray squirrel shares, with a very surprised human, recollections from an adventure of his youth. One squirrel from his group of friends is scooped up by a hawk. Luckily he is dropped and not made into lunch. Unluckily he is dropped far from home. His friends come to his rescue – not, however, without challenges. Squirrels are not known for their long attention spans and finding their friend proves difficult, but they persevere because they care deeply for their friend. Once reunited, they experience cultural differences common to those who travel, like meeting a group of red squirrels who speak with an Australian accent and eat pine cone seeds, rather than acorns.

The story offers the opportunity for discussion in areas of friendship and loyalty, cultural differences, environmental issues, problem solving and teamwork. It has a many of the elements that I look for in a great read aloud: an engaging plot; characters we care about; delightful illustrations; opportunities for the reader to adopt an accent; and humor that children and adults will enjoy.

Lynne Rae Perkins is a gifted writer and illustrator. Her novel Criss Cross is a book of vignettes, illustrations, photographs, and poems about a group of four small-town teenagers. Perkins’ picture book Home Lovely was a runner-up for the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Her novel All Alone in the Universe was named an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Editor’s Choice, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, and a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children. Perkins was born, raised and educated in Pennsylvania, and now lives in Michigan. You can learn more about her on her website!

Written by Lisa Q. Harling

Like this review? You can find more Staff Picks on our new Goodreads page!


LisaThis Youth book review was brought to you by Lisa Q. Harling. When not conducting Story Times or reading the best that kids’ authors have to offer, Lisa enjoys writing witty PSAs on Facebook, playing with her dogs and keeping up with her two adventurous sons. If you have suggestions for future book reviews, email her at lqharling@cityofportsmouth.com.

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