Squeak's Good Idea

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The author of COWBOY KID and the illustrator of OWL BABIES offer a gentle read-aloud about trying out one’s independence.

Squeak has a good idea—he’s going outside. But to be on the safe side, he’ll need just a few things—like mittens, a jacket, a scarf, a hat, a raincoat, warm pants, extra socks, and an umbrella. Will Squeak ever be ready to go out? This encouraging story about venturing out on one’s own is ...

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Overview

The author of COWBOY KID and the illustrator of OWL BABIES offer a gentle read-aloud about trying out one’s independence.

Squeak has a good idea—he’s going outside. But to be on the safe side, he’ll need just a few things—like mittens, a jacket, a scarf, a hat, a raincoat, warm pants, extra socks, and an umbrella. Will Squeak ever be ready to go out? This encouraging story about venturing out on one’s own is gently told by author Max Eilenberg, with delightful illustrations by Patrick Benson.

When Squeak the elephant decides to go outside for a picnic he prepares himself for any eventuality, which turns out to be a good idea.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This amiable toddler book about independence and planning ahead features a timorous baby elephant with whom young readers will easily identify. When his family is too busy to play, Squeak decides to brave the outside world himself. Each time he opens the door, he thinks of one more thing he needs a scarf, an umbrella, a picnic basket just to be "on the safe side." Benson (Owl Babies) adeptly captures Squeak's anxious anticipation of trouble. At the same time, the agreeable watercolor, pen and ink paintings feature cozy scenes and plenty of cheery spot art that lend a tone of reassurance to Squeak's solitary quest. Happily, as the apprehensive elephant takes literally one careful step at a time to the tree at the end of his walled garden, his worst fears are cheerfully allayed. Squeak's emotions are conveyed in the illustrations rather than the text, and Eilenberg's (Cowboy Kid) narrative captures spot-on the toddler mindset. Ages 2-6. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Squeak, a young elephant, decides that it's a good idea to go outside. The problem is, he's too afraid to venture outside alone. Squeak finds all kinds of reasons why he can't go out by himself—he might get cold, he might get wet and he might get hungry. Finally, Squeak musters enough courage to open the door and to step out. With an umbrella by his trunk, a picnic basket in his hand and adorned in raingear, Squeak goes on a picnic all by himself. Within a short time, he is joined by his entire family. Everyone agrees that Squeak, indeed, had a very good idea. Max Eilenberg's understanding text of how frightening it can be for young children to try new things by themselves, and Patrick Benson's charming illustrations of timid Squeak trying to be brave make for delightful, warm reading. This story is a useful tool to help young children gain self-confidence and self-esteem. 2001, Candlewick Press, $14.99. Ages 1 to 6. Reviewer:Earla Somerville
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Squeak is ready to go outside, but he cannot convince anyone in his family to join him. So the young elephant carefully and thoughtfully prepares for his solo adventure, peering out the door to check the weather, adding articles of clothing, an umbrella, and a basket full of good things to eat, "just to be on the safe side." The quiet humor of this story is played out in the punch line-the great outdoors is a small, walled-in backyard. Benson's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations perfectly capture the young one's trepidation, and his small universe. The gentle text with some repetitions makes this a good choice for a read-aloud.-Ann Cook, formerly at Winter Park Public Library, FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What's a little elephant to do when he wants to play outdoors but everyone is too busy to accompany him? When Squeak finds himself faced with the prospect of going outside alone, he fortifies himself with a barrage of items-"just to be on the safe side." A bit apprehensive about stepping out on his own but resolute to enjoy himself, Squeak brings along winter gear, rain gear, and enough food to feed a family of four-which turns out to be an excellent notion, as his parents and younger sibling soon join him for an impromptu picnic. Eilenberg's (Cowboy Kid's Bedtime, 2000) comforting tale addresses a preschooler's emerging need for independence and the trepidation that this new desire sometimes evokes. Even before his parents arrive, Squeak discovers that he can enjoy his outing solo. Benson's (Owl Babies, 1996, etc.) ink-and-watercolor illustrations neatly capture Squeak's hesitancy and his determination to persevere. Warmly lit, the full-color drawings range in size from full page to smaller vignettes. Oversized type adds appeal to the already inviting format. Whether the expedition involves playing in the yard alone or heading off to school, Eilenberg's tale serves as inspiration for fledgling adventurers. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763615918
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 2 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.41 (w) x 10.66 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Eilenberg has worked in publishing for many years. He is also the author of COWBOY KID, illustrated by Sue Heap.

Patrick Benson has illustrated more than twenty-five well-loved picture books, including THE LITTLE BOAT by Kathy Henderson, THE MINPINS by Roald Dahl, OWL BABIES by Martin Waddell, and THE COURT OF THE WINGED SERPENT and THE SEA-THING CHILD by Russell Hoban. He won the Mother Goose Award in 1984.

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