A father and son sit together and enjoy a little respite in the afternoon sun when their cart loses a wheel of cheese which is sent careening down the hill, up a tree and onto a branch where it rests until squirrel wakes to find it. Convinced the wheel of cheese is the moon, and that he has stolen it-making him a thief, Mr. Squirrel scrambles to think of ways to thrust it back into the sky where it belongs, for he fears if he does not, he will be sentenced to countless years in jail (illustrated in depth on several occasions). The text is simple and unassuming. The illustrations are wonderful- soft yet bold; modest yet incredibly detailed. Color is used sparsely so that the orange that is “Mr. Squirrel” and the yellow that is “moon” appear vividly throughout the story.
The tale evolves unraveling all of the other animals who become caught up in the squirrel’s shenanigans- a hedgehog whose spikes become engulfed in the solid yellow pressed milk curd, a goat whose horns unfortunately impale the wheel, bees who begin to surround the stinky sphere and finally a mischief of mice who feast on it. The illustrations are certainly what set the book apart. They are captivating, intricate and I found myself examining them each time I read the book, to see if there was anything I had missed. I loved the juxtaposition of pencil scribbles and smooth color; the chicken scratch reminded me just how erratic squirrels often are.
I’m sure we’re all pretty familiar with the story of Chicken Little. An acorn hits him on the head and he is convinced the sky is falling down. Take a wheel of cheese, a squirrel, his wild imagination and a bunch of animal mishaps and venture through a story that will be sure to entertain. It is part cautionary tale and part voyeuristic sojourn into the psyche of a somewhat neurotic, if not persistent squirrel.
Look for other great titles in our Children’s collection by Meschenmoser, including the wonderful Waiting for Winter and Learning to Fly.