Sometimes we underestimate the attention span of our youngest children. When I saw the first Bird and Squirrel book, I thought of my 7-year-old son, someone who loves reading but may need a nudge to get interested in a new series or even genre. He has not had much experience with graphic novels, so I thought he would enjoy the book.
To my great surprise, it was my toddler daughter who was drawn to the zany illustrations and the fun story. She insisted that I read every frame in the book. Although she is young, I was delighted to see her enjoying and responding to a different type of picture book.
Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks (Graphix, 2012) is the first book I read. Strawberry and I loved the unlikely friendship between the optimistic and adventurous bird and the timid and pessimistic squirrel. In this book, a cat chased the two animals, and squirrel joined bird for his annual migration south. A series of unlikely disasters brings the two together, and by the end, they have developed a sincere friendship.
In Bird & Squirrel on Ice by James Burks (Graphix, September 2014), the two unlikely friends are back, and this time their adventure has them crash-landing in the Antarctic, where a colony of penguins has been brought under the control of a powerful killer whale. Bird and Squirrel and the unexpected heroes as they rescue the penguins from their tormentor. This book, while just as delightful an adventure between friends for my daughter as we read it, was not my favorite. I am sorry to say that the unlikely setting and the unlikely “villain” bothered me. I guess you could say that as an adult, I just could not lighten up and approach it with the child-like humor I knew was intended. Nevertheless, it was a book I enjoyed reading with my daughter simply because of the discussion we could have about the setting, the character, and the artwork.
For both of theses books, Strawberry and I had to put them down and come back to them due to the lengths. But despite that, Strawberry greatly enjoyed the two friends’ adventures. She is, I suppose, the more adventurous of my two kids. I was glad to see that even though she is not yet three, she could enjoy a long book of adventures so much that she wanted to act out the scenes in her imaginary play. The cat was certainly the most entertaining of the two villains, but she seemed to enjoy the story on ice as well.
The Bird & Squirrel books are a nice introduction to graphic novels for the young reader who loves zany humor and adventure.
Note: I received a digital copy of Bird & Squirrel on Ice for review consideration.