Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman
The boy has been a big fan of Courduroy by Don Freeman for the past several months and it was rare that a week went by where we didn't read it a couple times a week at bedtime. We were recently at the library and spotted this title on the seasonal display table in the children's department. I don't know why I had never thought to look for more of Mr. Freeman's works ... actually, it's probably because of a few too many reads of Courduroy Gets His Shots or something like that. (I can't find it on Amazon or I'd link it).
Earl the Squirrel tells the story of a young squirrel who has made a friend of the little girl in the house next to his tree. His mother continually cautions Earl against associating with the little girl, as well as accepting the gifts that she gives him. One day the little girl gives Earl a beautiful red scarf. The mother is not impressed with the scarf, however, it comes in handy when Earl finds a spectacular acorn tree in a field with a huge bull. (We can all get an idea of where the story is going with a bull and a squirrel with a red scarf.). The story ends happily with the squirrel safe, the attack of the bull foiled, and the mother squirrel changing her mind.
It's a fun fall story in and of itself, but I do love Don Freeman's artwork. His detailed black and white drawings with the only color being the fire-engine red of Earl's scarf just make the story pop. It was a treat to the eyes and a fun find to add to our autumn reading basket.
And, thanks to Earl, I now have a half-dozen other Don Freeman books on hold at the library for the boy and I to work our way through in the coming days. I'll be sure and report back if and when I find any more winners!