Apparently, it's German-language week on wanderaven! Appropriate, because it's also the birthday of my German brother-in-law (aside whisper: it wasn't intentional, though).
Like the new novel by Ursula Archer, Mr. Squirrel and the Moon was originally created in German.
When NorthSouth Books made Mr. Squirrel available for early review, I didn't hesitate to take them up on the offer. Without even checking up on Mr. Meschenmoser, I could tell just by the illustration on the cover that it was the same creator as Waiting for Winter, a children's book I read five years ago and just adored. With Waiting, it was both the story and the illustrations that drew me in.
With Mr. Squirrel, it was the illustrations that gave the book its strongest thread and kept me reading.
The story is fun, and clever. Mr. Squirrel wakes up one morning to find the moon has settled on the branch that is the front path to his door. There's a couple layers of moon-related puns here; the "moon" (don't worry, this isn't much of a spoiler, as it happens on the very first page) is actually a large wheel of cheese, but Mr. Squirrel and his friends don't understand that. Mr. Squirrel is primarily worried about being jailed if someone happens to come along and think he stole the moon, so he just wants to get the evidence off his furry little paws.
The illustration here is actually from Waiting but I just want to show you how beautiful Meschenmoser's illustrations are. Likely my least favorite element in this new book is that Mr. Squirrel imagines himself thrown in jail next to a sad looking human prisoner and as his antics snowball his friends into helping him try and dispose of the evidence, he progressively imagines them all in that jail cell. Although I didn't necessarily like taking the animals from the cozy little forest (even just in Mr. Squirrel's imagination), it's difficult to complain too much, since the sketches set in the imagined jail cell are just as beautiful as the others.
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon will be published on January 1st, 2015.