An eleven-year-old girl cares for two orphaned squirrels
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Kacy Cook was born in Columbus, Ohio, the second of six children. Her father was a federal agent, and her mother was an artist and dress designer. Kacy still lives in Columbus and has three grown children. She also has three cats.
Since attending Ohio State University, Kacy has worked in journalism and publishing. In addition, Kacy writes books for young people. Her interest in children’s literature began when she homeschooled her children. This is also when her interest in nature and wildlife began. She is a big fan of squirrels!
Grade 3–6—Eleven-year-old Nell and her younger brothers, Jack and Charley, find two baby squirrels that have fallen out of their nest. Nell goes online to research how to care for them, and despite learning that she should take them to a wildlife rehabilitator, she convinces her parents to let the youngsters care for the babies at home, a feat made easier by the fact that they are homeschooled. Using the online advice, Nell is able to raise Mantha and Jess, all the while trying to convince her parents that they should be allowed to keep them as pets. As Nell's lies mount to cover up for the fact that it is illegal to have native wildlife in Ohio without a permit, animals die and people get hurt. The plot is heavy with educational information that slows the pacing and makes it preachy and didactic. Even an afternoon outing at a baseball game with friends turns into a science lesson as the kids discuss what type of animal their team, the Bearcats, represents, making the conversation stilted and forced. Nell's first-person narrative lets readers know what she is thinking, but the rest of the characterization is superficial. Children who are able to stick with the story will gain a new appreciation for the wildlife in their backyards, but most readers won't get that far.—Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
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