• Sarah Tobias

Squirrel Appreciation Day: A Comic, a Graphic Novel, and Some Fun

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!


We have several feeders in our yard. They attract many squirrels. I often see at least eleven squirrels foraging for seeds, leaping for feeders, and arguing about who gets first dibs. There have been squirrels with distinct personalities, and some with notable characteristics. All of them have been fun. Our dogs love to chase them. Before letting the dogs out, we let the squirrels know it's time to head over or through the fence. The other day, one ran to the back of the yard and appeared to wait for our dog to chase it down. Just as the dog got close, the squirrel shook its tail and slipped through the fence. (Clever or stupid?)


A week or so ago, as I sat watching out my window this happened:


Title: Donut Feed the Squirrels

Author: Mika Song

Publisher: Random House Graphics, 2020


Themes: Friendship, Donuts, Squirrels


Ages: 4 - 9


Meet Norma and Belly. They are cute, funny, and clever squirrels.


As the story opens, we see where of Norma and Belly live. A small park in the middle of a neighborhood. There's a red truck pulling around the corner.






The first two pages:


Reading graphic novels is a bit like reading a picture book, so much of the story is told in the illustrations. As you can see from the opening spreads, there's only one word, but a lot happens in those first four panels. We begin to get a sense of who Norma is, where she lives, and that she is either calling her stomach or someone whose name is Belly.


When the pancakes burn, it's time to find something else for breakfast. Remember that red truck I described? Well . . . Donuts!


Read the book to find out about those donuts and what Norma and Belly do to get some breakfast.


Mika's art is drawn with pencils, sumi brushes, sumi ink, and watercolors on watercolor paper.


Information, Resources, and Activities


Graphic novels may seem like the fast paced, you don't have to do much reading kind of book, but I find, they take me a while to read because I'm reading not only the words but also the pictures to understand the whole story.


Reading pictures allows a person to be a part of the story. The reader must come up with language in their minds to pull everything together.


When I was a librarian, I loved watching pre-readers read a picture book. You could always tell the kids who had been to storytime. They often held the book as if they were reading to an audience and they would proceed to tell the story that they saw in the images. It was a glorious sight. Their love of story, their imagination, and their moment of theatre were all a form of reading. One that would grow as they gained new vocabulary, and were able to make sense of the hieroglyphics that created words.


Some kids, like me, loved stories, but struggled to stay focused for all the black and white on a page. The call of a sunny day or a squirrel running past a window, were easy distractions. Graphic novels with their mixture of images and words, provide eye candy and pacing that help me stay focused.


For some kids whose first language is not English, graphic novels can help them make sense of words without having to look the words up or ask for help all the time.


For kids who see the world in pictures, it gives them the visuals that hold their attention.


In our fast paced world, the pace of a graphic novel can be fast, but somehow it is also slow and lingering. The illustrations and the story bring me back over and over again. They introduce us to art, imagination, and creativity.

Check out Mika's website. You'll find some fun activities and comics.


Draw a squirrel or two or three or a dozen. As you can see from my comic and the book, squirrels are pretty easy to draw. What do your squirrels look like? What are their names

Where do they live? What do they like to eat? What challenges do they have? Whose their best friend?


Make your own comic.


Learn more about Squirrel Appreciation Day


Learn more about squirrels.


It's time to make the donuts.


You can order your own copy from Bookshop.org, Amazon or your favorite bookstore.


Norma and Belly have a new book coming out in June. Don't miss APPLE OF MY PIE.

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