Title: The Adventures of Happy JackThe Adventures of Happy Jack Squirrel
Author: Thornton W. Burgess
Illustrator: Harrison Cady
Pages: 204
Recommended Ages: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★★★

The Green Forest Series returns!

The Story.

Happy Jack Squirrel has woken up very, very early this morning, for today is to be a special day. Today is to be the day he harvests his hickory nuts!

Well… they’re not exactly his – he doesn’t own the tree, after all. But they seem like his, because he’s watched them growing for a long time, and no one else shall have any! But when Happy Jack arrives at the tree, what should happen but that Chatterer the Red Squirrel comes along and demands his fair share. Of all the brazen happenings in the world, surely this is the brazeningest!

Discussion.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Thornton W. Burgess’s Green Forest series, not because his characters are perfect but because they are in fact very imperfect, prone to selfishness, cowardice, pride, etc. But what makes the stories so delightful is that Burgess carefully rewards each character with their just recompense and shows how easily one vice may lead to a bigger, more terrible evil. The beginning of each chapter begins with a little poem that encapsulates the moral lesson of that chapter. For example…

“Blessed he whose words of cheer
Help put hope in place of fear.”

~~~~~

“I love the sun; I love the rain;
I love to work; I love to play.
Whatever it may bring to me
I love each minute of each day.”

~~~

“There’s nothing quite so sweet in life
As making up and ending strife.”

~~~~

“As grows the mighty elm tree,
From just a tiny seed,
So often great things happen
From just a kindly deed.”

Aren’t they just lovely? I’d love to buy a book of just Burgess’s poetry one day…

Farmer Brown’s boy has a dream that he is being chased by “a terrible monster. It had great claws as big as ice tongs, and it roared like a lion. In his dream Farmer Brown’s boy was running with all his might. Then he tripped and fell, and somehow he couldn’t get up again. The terrible monster came nearer and nearer. Farmer Brown’s boy tried to scream and couldn’t. He was so frightened that he had lost his voice. The terrible monster was right over him now and reached out one of his huge paws with the great claws.” At this point, Farmer Brown’s boy wakes up.

Conclusion. Superb. Also read The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel, The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, and Blacky the Crow.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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