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Children's LiteratureNutmeg, a red squirrel in a pearl necklace, loves "bright sunshine and loud thunderstorms. But most of all, she [loves] to dance to her favorite forest tune." Near Nutmeg's tree lives Barley, a quiet mouse who loves "cool shade and gentle breezes [and] . . . to relax with a little music." Nutmeg gossips with other squirrels while Barley plays solitaire, politely refusing her invitations to join them. "I suppose we don't have a thing in common anyway," thinks Nutmeg, but when she finds some sunflowers on her doorstep she knows Barley must have given them to her. Going to thank him, she hears him groaning through his window. "Do you need anything?" she asks. Barley replies that he would love some tea, which Nutmeg mishears as "Should leave me be!" Offended, she leaves. She tries to go about her normal routine, but with no music in the evenings she is deprived of her usual dancing. After a few days she knocks on Barley's door and finds him sick in bed. She nurses him back to health. The next morning Barley is better, and Nutmeg learns that he is the one who makes the music she has been missing. They realize they do have "a couple of things in common—a love for lively music and their heartfelt friendship." Younger readers might miss some of the subtleties; it is not obvious that Nutmeg does not know it is Barley's music she enjoys, an important plot point. The text is a bit too cute, but little kids will not mind. The full-color, full-page illustrations are charming; Nutmeg's feet, in particular, are satisfyingly squirrelly. 2006, Candlewick Press, Ages 2 to 5.