One More Acorn


When beloved and award-winning picture-book author and illustrator Don Freeman died in 1978, his son, Roy, inherited his father's vast archive of art and stories. In that treasure trove, Roy recently discovered some artwork and a story set in Washington, D.C., about a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. The project was promising but unfinished, so Roy decided to partner with his father-thirty years after his death-to bring the book to life.

One More Acorn is more than an ...

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When beloved and award-winning picture-book author and illustrator Don Freeman died in 1978, his son, Roy, inherited his father's vast archive of art and stories. In that treasure trove, Roy recently discovered some artwork and a story set in Washington, D.C., about a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. The project was promising but unfinished, so Roy decided to partner with his father-thirty years after his death-to bring the book to life.

One More Acorn is more than an adorable, heartwarming story about a squirrel looking for that one last acorn-it's a son's homage to his father. And having an all-new original Don Freeman picture book is a true publishing event.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this blithe story begun by the late Don Freeman (Corduroy), the squirrel introduced in Earl the Squirrel searches for acorns he has stashed away in the parks of Washington, D.C., as winter approaches. A note from Roy Freeman explains that his father started this story while visiting the capital in late 1963, but was so devastated by President Kennedy's assassination that he abandoned the project. The son completed the manuscript and Jody Wheeler created additional art, ably replicating Freeman's wispy style. The airy pictures feature splashes of autumnal hues and loose images of the city's buildings and monuments. The narrative is equally buoyant: Earl "dashed like a furry flash" across a busy avenue and wonders if children on a field trip "are looking for acorns, too." Earl displays an amusing persnickety streak, too--when a boy offers him the prize acorn Earl had been searching for, he thinks, "Well, I'm glad to hear it.... Since it was my acorn to begin with," and he bounces off several of the kids as he delivers the acorn to his waiting family. Ages 3–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Earl the Squirrel wakes to a gorgeous autumn day and heads off in search of buried acorns. Since his territory happens to be, the White House grounds, Lafayatte Park and beyond, the reader is treated to a squirrel's eye view of monumental Washington, D.C. before the age of escalating security concerns. This is a world full of bronze and golden fall foliage, and children, too. While bringing home the bacon Earl runs into a Children's Day Parade. How does a little guy like him cross Pennsylvania Avenue without being mowed down by floats? Fortunately he is a clever creature and learns to use the crowds and vehicles to his advantage. All ends well as Earl scrambles into his tree house nest and produces a very big acorn for his hungry family—an appreciative family, too. It is gratifying to hear his children's "thank you's" and his wife's "Well done, my dear." Such basic family courtesies and support do seem to harken the story back to Freeman pere's simpler times. In the appended author's note Don's son, Roy, explains his posthumous collaboration as writer with sketches his father made during a trip to the nation's capital well before his death in 1978. How pleasant it is finding a quiet little picture book with no hidden agendas. It comes with reinforced binding, too. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—The celebrated creator of Corduroy (Viking, 1968) left behind scraps of this story, which his son has pieced together and completed. In Washington, DC, Earl the squirrel joins his park comrades in searching beneath orange leaves for stashes of hidden acorns to feed his wife and three kits. Unable to find the biggest acorn he hid during the summer, Earl braves traffic to cross Pennsylvania Avenue and cuts through to the Washington Monument, where scads of humans are gathered to watch a parade. A child's inconvenient meddling leads Earl to employ him as a stepping-stone to home. The 1960s style of Don Freeman's original inspiration stays true, but some scenes are significantly more detailed and complete, making for an unbalanced whole. Readers don't know the focus of the parade, and little actually happens. Earl's lack of emotional range makes investment in his success reserved at best.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews

Still no more than a rough draft despite being buffed up by an editor, Freeman's son and a second illustrator, Jody Wheeler, this sketchy tale of a Washington, D.C., squirrel rooting through autumn leaves for acorns buried "last summer" should have stayed in the trunk. Crossing a broad avenue and scurrying through an open gate—"which," as the wooden text has it, "is something not every visitor can do, you may be certain"—Earl the squirrel scampers about the Mall, past other squirrels and a group of children planting trees. In what passes for the climax, a parade turns out to be only a temporary obstacle to his final sortie, as the same children hold up their hands so he can make the leap back across the street and home to a "Well done, my dear," from his wife. Perky squirrels and several familiar D.C. monuments in the backgrounds give the broadly brushed art some visual interest, but not enough to compensate for the stiff prose and negligible plot. A disappointment, particularly after the likewise posthumous but far more finished Manuelo the Playing Mantis (2004). (afterword) (Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670010837
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 9/2/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,380,425
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.32 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. At an early age, he received a trumpet as a gift from his father. He practiced obsessively and eventually joined a California danceband. After graduating from high school, he ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students' League. He managed to support himself throughout his schooling by playing his trumpet evenings, in nightclubs and at weddings.

Gradually, he eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune. This shift was helped along, in no small part, by a rather heartbreaking incident; he lost his trumpet. One evening, he was so engrossed in sketching people on the subway, he simply forgot it was sitting on the seat beside him. This new career turned out to be a near-perfect fit for Don, though, as he had always loved the theater.

He was introduced to the world of Childrens' Literature, when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books. Soon after, he began to write and illustrate his own books, a career he settled into comfortably and happily. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater: "I love the flow of turning the pages, the suspense of what's next. Ideas just come at me and after me. It's all so natural. I work all the time, long into the night, and it's such a pleasure. I don't know when the time ends. I've never been happier in my life!"

Don died in 1978, after a long and successful career. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them a stuffed, overall-wearing bear, named Corduroy.

Don Freeman was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low. For more information about Don Freeman, please visit:

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