Martin's latest, told from the viewpoint of the title character--a pooch named Squirrel--could well be a primer for potential dog owners: it's a cautionary tale chronicling just about everything not to do as a canine caretaker. Dillon reads with a calm and sympathetic voice, relating how poor Squirrel is abandoned and mistreated by humans, and becomes a scrappy master of survival as she wanders the streets searching for her brother, Bone, from whom she was separated early on in life. Dillon makes certain that listeners will feel the relief and slow-emerging joy Squirrel experiences when at last she finds a kind and loving owner who truly wants--and even needs--her. Though Martin is sometimes inconsistent about what Squirrel does and does not know, listeners will be too hooked on the emotional notes and occasional dramatic moments here to mind. Ages 9-up. (Nov. 2005)[Page 68]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6 -This is Ann Martinâ€™s first person account of life as a stray dog (Scholastic, 2005). Squirrel and her brother Bone are pups living in a country estateâ€™s garden shed. When their mother fails to return one day, Squirrel follows her brother to look for a new home. Mother had taught them basic survival skills-to hunt for food and beware of humans. On the road, they learn another life lesson-to be wary of highways with cars. Squirrel and Bone become separated, so Squirrel moves on alone. She befriends Moon, another stray. The two dogs watch out for each other, changing homes with the changing seasons. A fatal car accident separates the two. Squirrel again sets out again on her own, employing survival skills until she meets a woman named Susan and finds a stable home. Wendy Dillonâ€™s warm, calm voice is the perfect match to tell the tale of the experience-worn Squirrel. She adds nuances of pitch and tension to her voice when reading the few passages of dialogue. This story begs to be listened to multiple times. A good choice for animal lovers.-Stephanie Bange, Wilmington-Stroop Branch, Dayton Metro Library, OH[Page 72]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.