Squirrel and John Muir
By Emily Arnold McCully
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374336974, 40pp.)
Publication Date: August 26, 2004
Categories: Nature & the Natural World - General
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An outstanding book for young naturalists
Floy Hutchings, also known as Squirrel, is the daughter of the man who opened the first hotel in the Yosemite Valley in the 1860s. She has to fend for herself much of the time and is considered wild by her family and her father's guests. When the future naturalist John Muir is hired as a carpenter, Floy becomes his inquisitive shadow as he builds himself a cabin over a stream, talks to flowers, and listens to snow. Floy, determined never to grow up because she'd have to be a lady, and Muir, searching nature for a way to live free of society's expectations, are primed to find common ground.
In this story set against a backdrop of watercolor paintings that vividly capture the beauty of Yosemite, Floy learns to see the world through John Muir's eyes.
Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully is the author and/or illustrator of numerous books for children. She lives in New York City.
"Once again, [Emily Arnold McCully] makes a wild, small girl the center of stirring picture-book historical fiction...beautiful, double-page watercolor landscapes...The contrast between the child's 'glowering loneliness' and the rich solitude she finds in nature will move young wilderness lovers profoundly." -- Booklist
"Caldecott medalist McCully again successfully creates a narrative that pairs a rambunctious girl character with a fascinating historical figure. McCully's familiar watercolors beautifully capture the scenery while the simple text conveys the bond between the unlikely pair. A lovely tribute to the gentle genius of the Sierras that gives dimension to the man and respect to his name." --Kirkus Reviews
"McCully's sure watercolors capture the stunning natural beauty of the area and provide a majestic backdrop for the small figure of Squirrel." -- School Library Journal
"McCully deftly weaves Muir's ideas and discoveries...into a story of unlikely friendship. Her watercolors are as adept at capturing the warmth and respect between man and child as they are at depicting the beauty of one of America's natural treasures." -- The Horn Book