TITLE: The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties
AUTHOR: Toon Tellegen
ILLUSTRATOR: Jessica Ahlberg
PUBLISHED BY: Boxer Books, 2009
I have only one thing to say about this charming, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, engaging, imaginative book: BUY IT. You want more than that? Ok. I'll try.
Toon Tellegen is one of the Netherland's most celebrated writers. He has written 38 collections of animal stories, which have been translated into 19 languages. Finally, Boxer Books brings us two collections in English. (I have not read the second volume, Letters to Anyone and Everyonebut I can't imagine that it is anything short of wonderful.) Oh, by the way, the Boxer Books website has excerpts of both titles here.
The blurb on the back (side note: origin of the word blurb) described the book as "beautifully told...delightful, and have the warmth of the wonderful Pooh stories." That's fairly accurate. They fit nicely into the same genre as the Pooh Stories--the loosely defined genre of "charming and delightful stories where animals doing things humans do only with more wit and grace." I couldn't say they are better than Pooh, but I will say they ought to be classics. I read the book cover to cover in one sitting, and laughed nearly the entire time.
Also delightful are the minuscule illustrations by Jessia Ahlberg (daughter of Janet and Allen Ahlberg). They are the perfect accompaniment to Tellegen's stories.
One final note: these books are listed for ages 9-12. This is absurd--the stories read aloud would be good for any child able to sit still for 10 minutes. And the reading is easy enough for kids who are just starting on chapter books.
Are you ready then? Buy it! I promise you'll love them!