New Frontier, 2019
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
As winter leaves tumble and twirl a wisp of memory wraps itself about me and whispers me back to long ago…
As a child, her Nanny Clementine took her to the park where she played on the swings and the see-saw and rode the carousel horses for as long as time. And one day, she sees a squirrel, one that the others squirrels growl at and chase away because he has a stumpy tail, not a magnificent curled one like theirs. And so begins a brief friendship between them – the little squirrel who is a bit different and the little girl who is also a bit different – and there is a strong sense of empathy that builds up, until the snow falls and the park is closed. What is it that the little girl learned from that squirrel in those few short days that has stayed with her all her life?
Sensitive, with beautifully descriptive passages that are sublimely illustrated in a palette and manner as soft and gentle as the story, this is a story that tugs at the heart-strings for we all know the child who is shunned because of their “stumpy tail” and the silent pain and rejection they feel. One to share and talk about what it would be like to be the one that is on the outside, rather than being part of the Bully-Bunch, and perhaps change a few perceptions.