Never before published, this breezy, droll tale from the creator of Corduroy focuses on a rite of passage for an ingenuous young squirrel. When Earl's mother announces, "It is high time you went out and learned how to find acorns on your own," the carefree fellow instead pays a visit to his friend, a girl named Jill, who gives him an acorn--and a nutcracker to open it. Earl's indignant mother says, in what becomes a refrain, "Earl, come in here this instant. I want to speak to you!" She admonishes her offspring for being spoiled and insists he return the nutcracker. Jill then gives Earl another present--a red scarf she made for her doll. After another rebuke from his mother, Earl fashions a sack from his scarf and goes in search of acorns. Freeman uses his signature scratchboard style, with fine tooling in black and white that plays up both the red scarf (the only additional color, which underscores the item's pivotal role in the tale) and the jet-black night into which Earl ventures on his quest. The Great Horned Owl and Conrad the bull act as key players in Earl's mission, and the comical, nearly calamitous string of events leaves the lucky squirrel with plenty of acorns to make his mother proud. Freeman serves up some laugh-out-loud images, as well as some affecting ones, in a tale well worthy of publication at last. Ages 4-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Using the same scratch board art as in his book Corduroy, the artist has created a classic tale of "growing up and finding one's own way." Earl the gray squirrel has a human friend, Jill. His mother thinks that it is time for Earl to find acorns on his own but disapproves of his turning to Jill for help. She thinks that Jill is turning Earl into a very spoiled squirrel. The repetition of Mother Squirrel's admonition "Come in here this instant. I want to speak to you." will be anticipated by early readers and listeners, alike. Jill gives Earl a warm red scarf, another gift of which Mother Squirrel despairs. Earl uses the scarf as a sack and heads out in the dark of night to find an acorn on his own. His quest involves an owl and a bull that is enraged by the red scarf. The bull charges Earl and succeeds in knocking into a huge (you guessed it) oak tree, shaking loose lots and lots of acornsmuch to Earl's delight. Quest fulfilled, he returns to his mother to present her with a tasty acorn and to receive her praise for a job well done. The black-and-white illustrations are emphasized by the striking contrast of the red scarf (and the red of the bull's eye). Children will love hearing this story of courage, determination, and self actualization. As a read aloud, this title will make listeners want to have more stories by this award winning author. 2005, Penguin, Ages 3 to 6.
Earl, a young squirrel, learns about responsibility and resourcefulness in Don Freeman's delightful tale (Viking, 2005). Earl's mother wants him to learn how to hunt for acorns, rather than relying on his human friend, Jill. His mother believes he is being spoiled, especially after Jill gives him a scarlet scarf. Earl is determined to make his mother proud, and with the help of his multi-purpose scarf, he returns home with acorns. The whimsical music and excellent sound effects bring Earl and the other characters to life. J. J. Myers' narration is spot-on, providing a squeaky young voice for Earl and a scolding tone for his mother. One track contains page-turn signals. The red scarf is the only element of color in Freeman's black-and-white scratchboard illustrations. An excellent choice for story time and for the classroom.-Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY
From unnamed origins springs a wonderful, never-before-published book by Freeman, creator of Corduroy. Fans will recognize the distinctive scratchboard art style and amusing perspectives, all black-and-white here except for the bright red splash of a wool scarf. The story begins when Earl the Squirrel's mother says, "It is high time you went out and learned how to find acorns on your own." Earl runs off to solicit the help of his human friend Jill who gives him not only an acorn but also a nutcracker-and later, the aforementioned scarf. Earl's mother is understandably horrified: "Earl, come in here this instant! I want to speak with you!" She deems him the world's most spoiled squirrel, and sends him scampering to prove himself. Along the way, Earl encounters a great horned owl, a bull named Conrad and a giant oak tree bursting with acorns, enough to make any mother squirrel proud. Preschoolers will love Earl's stumbling-but-steady journey towards independence, as nothing tastes as sweet as the first acorn a child procures on his or her own. (Picture book. 3-6)
H Freeman serves upa tale well worthy of publication. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
Children will love hearing this story of courage, determination, and self-actualization... (Children's Literature)