Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ocean-o-phobia! Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel never goes to the beach. He'd rather vacation at home alone where it's safe from the wrong crowd.

Everyone's favorite phobic flying squirrel is back, just in time for the first day of summer!

Scaredy, who almost never leaves the security of his nut tree, certainly has no plans to go to the beach, where there are huge hazards--germs, lobsters and crabs, falling coconuts, predatory seagulls and jellyfish, not to mention sea monsters!

Scaredy opts for a safe stay-cation, his own surrogate beach constructed right at the foot of his tree in case of emergency evacuations. Kitty litter subs for sand, a sanitized plastic pool, plastic palm tree, and plastic flamingo add to the ocean ambience, a flashlight stands in for sunshine, and just in case a few rays of sunlight make their way through his fur, there's super-SPF sunscreen. Perfect! He stretches out on his beach towel to enjoy, uh, nature.

It looks like a beach and feels like a beach, but it doesn't SOUND like one!

What he needs, Scaredy decides, is a seashell, a big seashell, one of those that he can put to his ear and hear the roar of the ocean. A shell that has certain qualities: 1) germ-free; 2) shiny; 3) crystal-clear ocean sound. 4) NOT occupied. But that means--he must go venture forth to the real beach!


Obsessive as always, Scaredy equips himself for the dangers of the seaside. Haz-mat suit, check! French fry supply to distract scary seagulls, check! Self-addressed, self-sealing box in case Scaredy has to take refuge from attacking pirates and coconuts, check! But his plans fail to include that one unforeseen hazard--little kids equipped with pails and shovels! Scaredy falls back on the last resort of the flying squirrel!


The anxiously awaited next installment in Melanie Watt's sagas of Scaredy Squirrel is here, just in time for the seaside season. As in the earlier books, in Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach (Kids Can Press, 2012), our orignal nervous-nellie, Scaredy Squirrel, requires a bit of immersion therapy as he finds happiness, companionship, and fear-free fun at the beach at last. Kids who harbor a few reservations about the oceanside can't help but giggle at Scaredy's outsized anxieties and perhaps get a little insight into their own.

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