by Daniel Ritchie
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
402 pages; ISBN: 1410789454
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
1st Books, 2003, 402 pp.
Silver Squirrel knows that he is weird when even he compares himself to the other colony’s residents, but for the most part he does not care except perhaps in leafless winter. Instead he revels in acting and feeling different. The squirrelly squirrel has made friends with the specie’s natural enemies and food competitors the crows. Still the revered elder Jacob suggests he mate and raise little squirrels like everyone else so that he would better fit in with the settlement.
Silver is attracted to Sandy Brown, but she will expect him to compete for her affection as only the strongest survive the maiden call. He does not want to compete and is not too concerned about belonging although he kind of likes Sandy. As Silver prepares for his quest to gain the paw of Sandy, Hawk the predator needs his help as something more dangerous than even he lurks just beyond the squirrel hamlet. Alas no matter whether he saves the day or not, Silver knows if he survives this dangerous adventure, he still will have to compete for Sandy.
Though not a satire SILVER SQUIRREL will in several ways remind readers of Animal farm as the plot plays out on two levels. Obviously the story line is a personification fantasy that provides human characteristics to animals aimed at a 10-12 year old readership. On a deeper level, the tale is a deep relationship drama using a simplistic animal as a symbol of how much one tiny creature can mean to a community as Daniel Ritchie pays homage to the ecosystem. Regardless of the group a reader belongs to, fans will enjoy this delightful story and look forward to the animated version of it.
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