Playing It Safe: Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Scaredy is a neurotically risk-averse squirrel who knows all about the dangers of the "unknown." He knows there are killer bees, and sharks, and germs, and green Martians and all kinds of hazardous stuff just waiting to do him in if he leaves the safety of his tree. To avoid a potentially fatal mistake, he's made one of those pros and cons lists just to make sure he's doing the prudent thing.
ADVANTAGES OF NEVER LEAVING THE NUT TREE:
--PLENTY OF NUTS
--NO TARANTULAS, POISON IVY, MARTIANS, ETC.
DISADVANTAGES OF NEVER LEAVING THE NUT TREE:
--SAME OLD VIEW
--SAME OLD NUTS
--SAME OLD PLACE
It's a boring but safe life.... Wake up, eat a nut, look at view, go to sleep (repeat).
Of course, there are unforeseen contingencies in the most carefully planned life, and just in case, Scaredy has planned for those, too. He has a emergency kit, complete with parachute, Band-Aid, hard hat, can of sardines.... [Wait a minute--sardines? Yes, sardines are useful for distracting sharks (see above).]
When an unforeseen bee bumbles by and Scaredy drops his emergency bag, though, he inadvertently falls from the tree and discovers that he has one more contingency quality he hasn't planned for--Scaredy is a flying squirrel! Scaredy enjoys the glide all the way down, but just in case there might be something dangerous around, he pretends to be dead for two hours.
The newly intrepid flying Scaredy Squirrel cautiously adds three items to his daily schedule:
--jump into the unknown
Hey, it's a start!
In addition to this 2007 ALA Notable Book, Scaredy Squirrel, (Kids Can, 2006), Scaredy widens his world in Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend and Scaredy Squirrel At the Beach.