Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review - Scaredy Squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel (Scaredy Squirrel #1)
by Mélanie Watt
Date: 2006
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

The first book in the Scaredy Squirrel series is a comical story of an endearing squirrel who learns what can happen when he’s brave enough to take a risk.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I was hoping I'd enjoy this, but unfortunately it's kind of problematic. Even the title is insulting.

Scaredy Squirrel has a lot of phobias. He reads like someone with anxiety or OCD. He's agoraphobic. He's constantly worrying about things that aren't likely to happen (like getting attacked by a shark). For all of this, he's slapped with the epithet "Scaredy". Now, I don't know about you, but that's bordering on offensive name-calling. Would it be okay to name a character with cerebral palsy Spastic Squirrel? No? Then why is it okay to mock this particular character's disability?

This isn't even a book about overcoming your fears. When Scaredy Squirrel finally "ventures" from his tree, it's not because he's decided to take a risk. He's making a mad grab for his emergency kit, and he falls from his tree. That's right. The main plot point about overcoming your fears is actually based around an accident.

I'm more sensitive to this sort of thing because of my own anxiety and phobias, so your mileage may vary. But, speaking as someone who can relate to many of Scaredy Squirrel's issues, I'm not amused to see something so difficult to deal with so cavalierly treated. Humans can't overcome their anxiety by figuring out they can fly. All this book seems to do is mock the squirrel for being silly about his irrational fears, and then present an unrealistic solution (unrealistic for the humans who might be reading the book, anyway) to the anxiety issue.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.17 out of 5

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