"A strange new feeling came over them—a feeling they could do whatever they wanted. It was the strange and wonderful feeling of freedom!"

Two rare white squirrels trapped in a carnival truck have a streak of luck when the vehicle overturns, and the door falls open. This is the beginning of the tale woven by Old Mr. Squirrel to his grandchildren, who listen with rapt attention as he describes how Squirlie and Maude, their ancestors from Thailand, arrive in Florida and are adopted by two children who give them a decent home, keeping them as pets in a small cage. Gradually, though, it seems their cousin in Brevard, North Carolina, can provide a better habitat for the pair. Content but still encaged, the little white wonders manage an escape into the trees and parks. They have many adventures and, soon, three babies—Fluffy, Muffy, and Swishy Tail. Eventually, the city council makes Brevard a sanctuary for the adorable white creatures. As Old Mr. Squirrel concludes his story, his white squirrel listeners are “curled up at his feet and sound asleep.”

Author Scherer, a student of biology and ecology, has created this marvelous tale inspired by stories told to her in her childhood. She has deftly combined fiction and fact. There are rare white squirrels famously inhabiting Brevard. They did originally come from a carnival in Florida and may have originated in Thailand. Of course, their enjoyable antics with a food-stealing blue jay and a wise old owl are touches from the writer’s lively imagination. Scherer demonstrates her clear wish to entertain and gently inform her young audience. Meanwhile, illustrations by Susan Shorter bring the squirrel saga to life with large, colorful action scenes on nearly every page. Scherer’s book has the power to delight young readers with its furry, friendly characters and to engage those who read with and to them. Its easily accessible, factual background adds an extra layer of interest.

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