The Tails of Linda Place: Kurt and Nibby
by Josephine E. Hernandez

"Cousin Nibby was afraid of Kurt. But he knew that he had to overcome his fears if he was going to help this terrible fellow squirrel."

Kurt Mudgeon is the bully of the squirrel community that lives at Linda Place. Because of his great size and agility when navigating tree branches, even the dogs of Linda Place are afraid of him. Not only does Kurt’s squirrel community fear him, but they also harbor much resentment for his thievery. Adept at stealing the nuts that the other squirrels in the community have collected, he has built a fortune. As Kurt grows older, he becomes even more devious and mean-spirited. He hoards the nuts he has but also refuses to share any of his bounty. When Kurt grows old, his behavior becomes increasingly disturbing, and he can’t remember where he hid his bounty. The only squirrel in the community concerned for Kurt is his cousin Nibby who, despite his fear of Kurt, can’t let him starve. So, he becomes his cousin’s guardian.

This is a wonderful book for young readers as it touches upon the importance of community. It also touches lightly on Alzheimer’s disease and aging, making it a good choice for parents wishing to initiate a conversation on the subjects. The main theme concerns the human capacity to extend kindness to those who least deserve it. Nibby demonstrates the importance of community and forgiveness, teaching his fellow squirrels valuable lessons about life. The author has written a beautiful story tackling these rather heavy themes, making them approachable to young readers. The story is intriguing, and young readers will relate to despicable Kurt, kindhearted Nibby, and the residents of Linda Place as they navigate the devastating effects of aging and Alzheimer’s disease on the community bully.

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