The Girl in the Tree by Ellen Potter (Squirlish series)

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A girl raised by squirrels: Why not? The new early chapter book The Girl in the Tree by by Ellen Potter (illustrated by Sara Cristofori; Margaret McElderry Books, June 2023) takes this ridiculous concept and makes a creative story about a girl in Central Park who has only known her adoptive squirrel father since she was found as a baby and raised as his. Now 8-years-old, Cordelia now finds her squirrel speak and manners to be a bit lacking for living in the human world and she begins to wonder: where does she truly fit in?

As I mentioned, the premise of the book is truly ridiculous. But in some way, it doesn’t matter that much. My daughter, and I’m sure other 8-year-old children, will relate to her desire to belong and will relish the thought of living in a treehouse and naturally knowing a special language: that of the squirrels. What child doesn’t want to chase another and do amazing acrobatics from tree branch to tree branch? When Cordelia finds herself confused in the gymnastics class she visits, she wonders how she can make friends if not in the squirrel ways. By the end of The Girl in the Tree, Cordelia has found a way to relate to another child just by being herself, nicely setting up this first book for certain sequels as she finds her place in the human world.

Overall, the first Squirlish book has an age-appropriate, compact early chapter book length and structure that provides a hilarious story about life in the wild. I look forward to seeing how her story progresses, and I know my daughter feels the same way!

Reviewed on November 16, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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