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A Squirrel's Story: A True Tale
     

A Squirrel's Story: A True Tale

4.8 6
by Jana Bommersbach, Jeff Yesh (Illustrator)
 

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Shirlee Squirrel needs a safe nest for her babies, far from the clutches of a menacing black cat! When she moves into a birdhouse designed to house wood ducks, she and her babies create “home sweet home” in a North Dakota backyard. Raising her children under the watchful eye of the nice man and woman—Rudy and Willie—whose yard they inhabit,

Overview

Shirlee Squirrel needs a safe nest for her babies, far from the clutches of a menacing black cat! When she moves into a birdhouse designed to house wood ducks, she and her babies create “home sweet home” in a North Dakota backyard. Raising her children under the watchful eye of the nice man and woman—Rudy and Willie—whose yard they inhabit, Shirlee teaches young Sammy and Sally everything gray tree squirrels need to know. Retold by award-winning Arizona journalist Jana Bommersbach, Shirlee’s true story speaks the universal language of love. Additionally, the book’s accompanying curriculum and activity guides make it perfect for both home and classroom use, providing an entertaining, enriching learning experience.

Winner of the Children's Picture Book Softcover Non-Fiction category at the 2013 USA Best Book Awards. Honorable Mentions at the 2013 Beach, New York, Animals Animals and Great Midwest Book Festivals!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...As a writer and former education official and social studies coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, I often recommended materials for teachers in my state. I also recommend this book. I believe everyone growing up in North Dakota has watched squirrels with interest and amusement. Bommersbach's book captures the thoughts most of us have had pondering what is going on inside their minds as they scamper about. As with all of Bommersbach's other works, a job well done."

-- Curt Eriksmoen, syndicated newspaper columnist

"Mr. Disney has shown us there is no limit to the power of a creative imagination. He started with a mouse named Mickey. Ms. Bommersbach has a squirrel named Shirlee. This is an enchanting tale of a parent's concerns for her young children, Sammy and Sally about to set foot in the real world. As is often the case, the girl, Sally, is bolder than the timid boy, Sammy. How is Shirlee to help Sammy overcome his fear and find his courage? This is a dilemma that many parents must face and walk the fine line of deciding when to push and when to back off. It is a risky decision of great consequence which can be life-altering for the good or for the bad. There are big lessons in this small story. Well done, Ms. Bommersbach!" -- Alex Cord, Actor & Author

"Not only is this a great fall read, but this story is also a great resource for teachers and parents. In fact, the book includes a curriculum guide! After reading the story you and your child can engage in reading, writing, and/or listening activities." -- Angela, The Children's Nook

"Bommersbach really has the gift of story-telling. She weaves a story about the life of a squirrel family that is both interesting and believable. Her use of descriptive words really makes the story come alive. She magically weaves facts about the squirrels in a natural path to follow the story which really is what made this book special. I also enjoy the Curriculum Guide in the back - which as a homeschooling Mom just made my job easier! It is like getting a little unit study included with this wonderful book!" -- Lisa Rupertus, A RUP Life

A RUP Life Lisa Rupertus

“We've always been readers. Since the kid's were little we've filled their bookshelves with delightful books. From board books to chapter books to novels we've read them all! Now that we are homeschoolers I look at books in almost a new light. I ask questions about the book. Is there a lesson, Is there something to learn, or is it just for fun? I love when I can find a book that meets all three! Bommersbach really has the gift of story-telling. She weaves a story about the life of a squirrel family that is both interesting and believable. Her use of descriptive words really makes the story come alive. She magically weaves facts about the squirrels in a natural path to follow the story which really is what made this book special. I also enjoy the Curriculum Guide in the back - which as a homeschooling Mom just made my job easier! It is like getting a little unit study included with this wonderful book!”

Angela - The Children's Nook

“One of my greatest pleasures is cuddling with my children. My oldest child is a cuddle bug by nature and his younger siblings often follow his lead and pile close to me if I sit down. Cold weather is the perfect excuse to cuddle on the couch by the fire with a good book, so as soon as the weather cooled down I was on the search for some new fall children’s books to read with my little ones. ‘A Squirrel’s Story: A True Tale’ is a new book by Jana Bommersbach. The title of this story immediately caught my attention.

Squirrels can be quite entertaining creatures so I was definitely curious as to what this story entailed. It also raised a very interesting question, ‘What would you say if you could speak squirrel?’ This story is told from the point of view of a female squirrel named Shirlee. She is the mamma to two baby squirrels, Sally and Sammy. This is a sweet story about a mamma’s love for her family. This cute mamma squirrel decides to raise her babies in a bird house to keep them safe from a big black cat. Author, Jana Bommersbach actually got the idea for this book from her own mother. You can find out where the inspiration came from in the short interview with the author in the video below.

Not only is this a great fall read, but this story is also a great resource for teachers and parents. In fact, the book includes a curriculum guide! After reading the story you and your child can engage in reading, writing, and/or listening activities. If you want to get creative, there is a great list of activities you can do that are related to this story. My son really liked these activities. Additional online resources are provided in this section of the book including a website you can visit to hear the sound that a gray squirrel makes! I personally love to explore nature with my kids. It is fun to see them make discoveries. This is a great book to read on a nice fall day because you can go outside and explore nature. Search for nuts, flowers, bugs, and more! You can go to a park or simply explore your own backyard. After all, Shirlee the squirrel raised her family right in Ruby and Willie’s backyard!”

Conny Crisalli - Bookpleasures.com

“I don’t speak wood duck, but if I did, I’d bet that bird was scolding, ‘What do you think you’re doing in a house meant for me? Don’t you know that squirrels don’t live in birdhouses?’” Shirelee recants in Jana Bommersbach’s children’s book, A Squirrel’s Story – A True Tale.

This forty page letter-sized paperback book is targeted toward six to ten year olds and has no profanity, scary scenes or violence. Although it contains extensive reading on each page, young ones may enjoy listening over several days. After the story, there is a curriculum guide that includes a reading, writing, listening, and creating section with various activities and educational suggestions. The last few pages recommend exploring nature, learning more online, author and illustrator biographies, publisher information, and an order form. Based on a true story, Shirlee is a squirrel living in a backyard in North Dakota. She meets a very mean and fat cat who she teases and taunts as she climbs higher in nearby tree branches.

Wanting to make a safe, cozy home, she notices humans Rudy and Willie building bird houses in their backyard. Although they make a house for a wood duck, Shirlee chases the fowl away since she and her two children have found a new nice home. Safe from the big cat, daughter Sally and son Sammy are happy inside the birdhouse, as Shirlee teaches that they are gray squirrels, not red ones, and how to make a loud long chirp as an alarm. Although Sally is more adventurous, Sammy never wants to leave his comfortable nest.

The children learn how to lick or rub their scent on nuts and bury them so they can be found during the winter. The relieved Shirlee learns that Rudy takes the mean cat far away so she does not have to worry any longer. When both squirrels are old enough, Sally eagerly leaves the birdhouse, but Sammy adamantly refuses. Rudy and Willie watch the mother squirrel physically push Sammy out of the nest and, when he falls on the plush grass, he is happy he did.

Besides the story being unique about a squirrel family actually living in a birdhouse where they do not normally reside, the fun-filled activities and learning tools at the end of the book will delight both the new and more experienced reader.

Karen Davis - Barr Raising Arizona Kids magazine

"We all do what our moms ask us to do—eventually. For Phoenix writer Jana Bommersbach, that meant tackling an unfamiliar literary genre and reaching out to a whole new audience. The result, A Squirrel’s Story—A True Tale, is a delightful picture book with a playful touch and profound messages for children and the adults who love them. The book includes a six-page curriculum to help teachers and parents guide children in additional learning. A Squirrel’s Story has wonderful lessons for little people about finding the courage to face fears. It offers deep insights into the trepidation of a slow-to-warm child and the painful, but necessary, work of separation. Shirlee, the squirrel mom, always puts her children’s best interests first, stoically accepting the role of responsibility, the occasional need for “tough love” and the bittersweet feelings that confront a parent whose child is read to leave the nest. In naming its heroine, Bommersbach’s book honors the memory of her longtime friend Shirlee Lehnis, a reading specialist who died at the time the book was being written. It also celebrates the treasured childhood of its author, a talented, insightful and creative literary artist who was well parented, and well loved."

3rd Grade Reading Terri Forehand

"A Squirrel’s Story: A True Tale is one of the best books for use in the 3rd or 4th grade classroom because of both the fun story line and the facts about squirrels the reader will absorb. Teachers and parents will enjoy following the mama squirrel as she raises her babies and teaches them the values and the character traits that they will need to grow into responsible adult squirrels.

Student readers will be able to master the reading independently, but as a classroom addition to science and biology, this book will also work great as a group story. The author has taken observations about squirrel activity to weave a story about how a parent teaches a young one how to be independent, gain confidence, and be nurtured to healthy growth and development by telling the squirrel’s story.

The author has done an excellent job with additional classroom activities in the last few pages of the book. The curriculum guide includes third grade vocabulary words and exploration, creative language activities, and writing guidelines. Also included for readers is a word matching game. Teachers are encouraged to allow students to be the reporter, the poet, or the researcher and to discover how to write their own true story based on observations.

Art is an extra bonus activity included in the curriculum addendum and teachers and parents will enjoy adding this to the fun when reading and teaching this book. The author offers several online sites for more activities and information to enhance the student. Activities address both visual and auditory learners, making this book a great addition to the classroom.

Other books by the publisher can be found at www.eStarPublish.com and specific additional information on this book can be found at the website www.SquirrelsStory.com."

San Francisco Book Review Susan Roberts

“Jana Bommersbach’s book, A Squirrel’s Story, tells of a mother squirrel who, fearful of a nasty black cat, makes her nest for her newborns in a bird house. Out of danger, she cares for her children in the way mothers do. When Sally is eager and energetic, her mother is proud. When Sammy is timid and shy, mother squirrel is concerned. The children learn about dive-bombing birds protecting their young and about the squirrel alarm and its signals for danger (one very long chirp and a tail straight up). When Sally pokes fun at Sammy for being timid, mother squirrel intervenes and asks her to apologize. But when the time comes for the two to venture out the nest and Sammy hides in the bird house in fear, mother squirrel literally pulls Sammy out the house for him to experience life, rather than being fearful of it. His natural instincts kick in and his fears vanish, and he becomes the squirrel he was meant to be. The book contains a curriculum guide for teachers and parents with activities, websites and adventures for the family to enjoy.”

Finding Words Liesel Schmidt

"Got an older elementary-age reader? Here's one for the stacks ... In A Squirrel's Story: A True Tale (written by Jana Bommersbach, illustrated by Jeff Yesh), readers will meet Shirlee Squirrel, a mama squirrel who needs to find a home for her babies that keeps them safe and far, far from the clutches of a scary black cat! When they move into a birdhouse made for wood ducks, Shirlee and her young squirrels, Sammy and Sally, create a home of their very own in the backyard of a kind human couple named Rudy and Willie. Shirlee teaches her children everything gray tree squirrels need to know as they grow up in their North Dakota home. The book has the added bonus of curriculum and activity guides, making it a great addition to both the home and the classroom. Kids will be entertained at the same time as they learn about wildlife."

Storywraps Marilyn Panton

"This is a true story of an adorable family of gray squirrels, a mamma, and her two babies. She is looking for the perfect, safe nest where she can raise her little ones and not have to worry about any dangers that may befall them. The story starts with a big, overweight black cat who is salivating just thinking about the delicious meal those squirrels would make. The mother's heart, sensing the danger that this malicious feline might pose to her young ones, sets off to find a home where they can all live together with no fears and anxieties. She spots a birdhouse that houses wood ducks and claims it as her new family homestead. It is located in the backyard of two kind people that live in North Dakota and they are happy to have her move in and stay as their tenant. After her babies are born she nurtures them and teaches them what it is like to be a gray squirrel. The book contains a lot of factual information about squirrels and certainly take-away life lessons. An extra added bonus is the curriculum and activity guides that are perfect for home or classroom use found at the back of the book. As a former teacher, I always loved that added feature, something I could share with my students. This book has heart, a mother's heart, and the message will resonate within you long after you have read the last page."

Jackie Ferrell

"A Squirrel's Story, written by Jana Bommersbach is a true and tender story delightfully written in the first person by a mother squirrel who is looking for a perfect place to live for herself and for her two baby squirrels, little Sally and Sammy. The neighborhood cat is mean and menacing and frightens the mother squirrel, so she knows how important it is to find the safest place for her family. Two friendly neighbors build birdhouses in their yard. The birdhouses are beautiful to the mother squirrel. She surprises everyone by choosing a birdhouse for her new family's home. Squirrels don't live in birdhouses, but the mother squirrel and her babies do just that. As she teaches her young babies how to be squirrels, she learns how different little Sally and Sammy are. Full of charm and tenderness, A Squirrel's Story is a joy to read and is the kind of story that will forever remain in your heart."

board member of Phoenix Elementary School District Nancy Philippi

'A Squirrel's Story-A True Tale' is a true story full of learning and fun with beautiful illustrations."

Actor & Author of "A Feather in the Rain" www.Alex Alex Cord

“Mr. Disney has shown us there is no limit to the power of a creative imagination. He started with a mouse named Mickey. Ms. Bommersbach has a squirrel named Shirlee. This is an enchanting tale of a parent's concerns for her young children, Sammy and Sally about to set foot in the real world. As is often the case, the girl, Sally, is bolder than the timid boy, Sammy. How is Shirlee to help Sammy overcome his fear and find his courage? This is a dilemma that many parents must face and walk the fine line of deciding when to push and when to back off. It is a risky decision of great consequence which can be life-altering for the good or for the bad. There are big lessons in this small story. Well done, Ms. Bommersbach!”

syndicated newspaper columnist and author of the " Curt Eriksmoen

“…As a writer and former education official and social studies coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, I often recommended materials for teachers in my state. I also recommend this book. I believe everyone growing up in North Dakota has watched squirrels with interest and amusement. Bommersbach's book captures the thoughts most of us have had pondering what is going on inside their minds as they scamper about. As with all of Bommersbach's other works, a job well done.”

Terry Goddard former Phoenix Mayor and Arizona Attorney General

I enjoyed your Squirrels! I could go on and on about the real life naturalist appeal of your story. This charming story is loaded with wisdom and nature-lore for children and the adults who are lucky enough to read it to them.”

Eileen Bailey

“Jana Bommersbach’s insightful squirrel story beautifully illustrated by Jeff Yesh is pure fun. Put me down for 300 books. I can hardly wait to see Jana inspire our students at her first KidsRead Family Book Breakfast.”

Ellen Dean - Arizona Coordinator of BookPALS

Jana Bommersbach gives us a delightful true story about a squirrel family who lives in a birdhouse in her parents’ backyard. The book is sure to appeal both to children and to the adults who read to them with its humor, repetition, and well-researched ‘squirrel facts.’ The story also includes important life lessons about individual differences, growing up, and independence. The illustrations are endearing, too, and the many enrichment activities in the back of the book make Bommersbach’s ‘A Squirrel’s Story’ a teacher and parent's dream.”

Rose Mofford - Arizona's first female governor (1988-1991)

“A Squirrel’s Story presents a real and caring life of a devoted squirrel family. The illustrations are excellent! Once you pick up the book you will read it to the very end. It is entertaining, informative and enjoyable... a story that will bring pleasure to all.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589852525
Publisher:
Five Star Publications, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/30/2013
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Squirrel's Story

A True Tale


By Jana Bommersbach, Jeff Yesh

Five Star Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Jana Bommersbach
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-58985-252-5


CHAPTER 1

The first thing you need to know is that squirrels don't live in birdhouses.

I should know. My name is Shirlee, and I'm a squirrel.

So, how did I end up raising my babies in a birdhouse in the backyard of a nice man and woman in North Dakota?

That's the story I'm going to tell you. It all started with a big, fat, black cat. I don't know where she came from, but one day, there she was — the biggest, fattest, meanest-looking cat I had ever seen. From the minute we laid eyes on each other, I knew she was licking her whiskers.

"Catch me if you can," I teased. I scampered up a tree as fast as I could — climbing much higher than this overweight cat could ever climb. I knew it made her mad that she was stuck on the ground while I was laughing at her from above. I could have jumped from branch to branch to get even farther away, but to be honest, it was fun to sit there and watch that helpless cat meow her head off at me.

I don't speak cat, but if I did, I'd bet that fat feline was saying, "Mrs. Squirrel, you're going to be my supper one of these days."

That thought worried me. So, from that day on, I watched very carefully for that black cat. I started thinking, What if she finds my nest when I have my babies? They will be so little at first. They'll be blind and helpless. They wouldn't be able to get away from her.

I knew I had to find the safest nest ever to protect my children. What should I do?

I was wondering just that when the nice man came out of his house carrying a beautiful, very safe-looking birdhouse.

By then, I'd watched this man a lot. He was very big! At first, his size scared me, but the more I watched him, the more I saw that he was kind.

Every spring, I watched him plant a big garden and I learned that he relied on the nice woman as his "go-fer." He'd ask for something, and she'd "go for" it right away. He'd ask for something else, and she'd go for that, too. The woman always helped the man all she could.

All winter, I watched the man keep his bird feeder full of seeds. He knew the birds had trouble finding food in all that snow and I thought it was a very nice thing for him to do. There were many days I was thankful for his generosity. I always buried seeds and nuts for my winter food, but to be honest, it was much easier some days to just climb into the feeder for a free meal. I didn't think the nice man would mind.

I liked watching him clean up the four birdhouses he'd hung in the yard. He always seemed really happy when the birds came to live in them and raise their babies. He and the nice woman would sit in their lawn chairs for hours to watch the birds. That was another good sign of how nice they were.

I don't speak people, but it didn't take me long to learn that when the woman wanted the man, she called out "Rudy." When he wanted her, he called for "Willie." Any smart squirrel would realize those had to be their names.

On the day I first started worrying about that horrible cat, I watched with great interest as Rudy brought out a splendid new birdhouse. Willie carried out a hammer and nails.

As they nailed the house to a sturdy tree at the back of the yard, I kept hearing the people words "wood" and "duck." At the time, I had no idea what a wood duck was. I'm guessing now that it was the strange, brightly colored bird that showed up several weeks later and was startled to see a mother squirrel with two new babies living in her house.


I don't speak wood duck, but if I did, I'd bet that bird was scolding, "What do you think you're doing in a house meant for me? Don't you know that squirrels don't live in birdhouses?"

Instead of arguing with her in squirrel, which I didn't think she'd understand, I just swatted at her with my paw until she flew away. We never had any more trouble with her after that. The birdhouse was our home, and we settled right in.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Squirrel's Story by Jana Bommersbach, Jeff Yesh. Copyright © 2013 Jana Bommersbach. Excerpted by permission of Five Star Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

One of the Grand Canyon State's most acclaimed journalists, Jana Bommersbach has been a fixture in Arizona media since the early 1970s, making her mark in both broadcast and print journalism. A North Dakota native, she attended graduate school at the University of Michigan before relocating to Phoenix in 1972. Her first book, The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd, was a national bestseller and was named Arizona's One Book AZ selection in 2010. A Squirrel's Tale is her first picture book.

Jeff Yesh is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer whose award-winning work has been featured in multiple children's books. Born and raised in Indiana, Jeff graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Based in Carmel, Indiana, Jeff enjoys spending time outdoors--biking, camping and attending baseball games--with his wife and two daughters.

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A Squirrel's Story: A True Tale 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meh...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
o.e l'm quitting rp. Atleast for awhile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
x.x
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No.