Molly's Reviews

Silver SquirrelSilver Squirrel
Daniel Ritchie
1st Books Library
Interesting read .. Recommended ... 5 stars

Jacob Artwood-Brown, is a wise patriarch of the squirrel colony. When Shara is taken by a hawk after being widowed it is left to Jacob to help rear their orphaned son. After a time Silver leaves the comfort of 'The Lodge' to live a solitary existence on the edge of the colony. Jacob's niece Sandy is a lovely young squirrel when she and Silver meet again as young adult squirrel's neither really remembers their childhood spent together. Sandy is out hunting for berries, she is supposed to be looking for flea bane. Silver and his friend Barti-mouse are playing when Sandy appears. A storm wreaks havoc upon the homes of those in the colony and on the outskirts alike. Many are injured, some are dead, homes and food stores are gone. A bleak winter looms before the group. Timothy Bushtail, friend to Sandy's widowed mother Beverly thinks the group should venture across the valley to The Lodge. Jacob saw the glow of the fire from across the valley and knows that he may soon have visitors when the worried group sets out. Crows, open areas, hawks, weasels, near starvation all must be met before the intrepid travelers are able to find safety and new homes. Silver is not at all certain that he really belongs. He likes crows, he is different. Silver struggles to find his place in the colony as he deals with the enormous problems facing the group.

Writer Ritchie has wrought a well-crafted tale filled with challenging experiences, tumult and adventure. "Silver Squirrel" is a excellently written work whose inception was 1992 as a short animated film. Ritchie notes the story for the film progressed faster than the animation and what began as a 1 minute short turned into a draft for a 13 episode series and ultimately a novel.

This masterfully written account of a young squirrel who is thrust into a predicament he did not seek or crave is filled with robust, lavishly wrought characters, scenarios, circumstances and solutions. Struggle, jeopardy and tumult abound on the pages of Silver Squirrel. Dialog between the various actors is engaging, often hard hitting and entertaining. Scenarios set against plausible nature back drops are exciting and convincing and deftly produced. Ritchie has a canny knack for presenting a masterfully engineered, well drawn, fast paced, action packed tale wherein the reader is drawn right into the tale from the opening lines of the prologue as we read Jacob's journal entry telling of the hawk killing Shara, and is held fast right down to the last paragraph as we smile to read of Silver learning to take his place in the colony.

Vocabulary used is well within the realm of kids from ages 10 up. The tale offered in "Silver Squirrel" is one sure to please older kids and adults alike.

Entertaining read. Happy to recommend.

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2005 by Molly Martin