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Eileen Cade-Edwards.

Ottawa, Borealis Press, c1981.
38pp, paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88887-037-X.

Grades 3 and up.
Reviewed by Nancy Dickson.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

Eileen Cade-Edwards emigrated from England to join her Canadian husband first in Thunder Bay and later in London, Ontario. Although she has published extensively in Canada, Britain, and the U.S.A., this is her first children's book.

The story revolves around a young boy who adopts a baby squirrel (reminiscent of the manner in which Mutt arrived in the Mowat family in The Dog Who Wouldn't Be) and spends his summer in its company. Forest, as he named the squirrel, was a tiny little thing with a coat that looked more like wool than fur but who had the most beautiful eyes. After much trial and error, the family finally discovered what he liked to eat and drink. Incidents such as Forest's first (and last) visit to a department store are vividly described. Throughout the book Russell must contend with building a roof house for a squirrel who does not want to live there, a memorable visit to the classroom, the youngster who regrets selling Forest to him, and the havoc that erupts when travelling in a car with a squirrel.

Russell constantly refers to Forest's stay with the family as temporary, although the first attempt to abandon Forest in a park ended in failure. Nevertheless, during a trip to Thunder Bay the situation arises for the squirrel to willingly return to its natural environment, and the reader is left with the feeling that both the boy and the squirrel have made the right decision.

This charming short story provides enjoyable reading. Although no reference to a particular time period has been made, there is a distinct impression that this story is set in an earlier decade when the pace of living was just a little slower and there were not quite the same distractions for a young boy as exist today.

The presentation of the book might have been enhanced with an eye-catching cover and perhaps the use of a few illustrations inside. Pages solid with print from beginning to end may deter less-confident readers who might otherwise enjoy the subject matter.

Nancy Dickson, Falgarwooft P. S., Oakville, ON.
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