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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Orange Chipmunks Rock is a children’s story book about animals, written and illustrated by Faith Balsama. As she indicates in her introduction, the story of two chipmunks, named Sako and Suki, is told in Zappai, a style of Japanese poetry, which is similar to Haiku. Sako and Suki love exploring their beautiful sunny garden. They are constantly on the lookout for good things to eat while they enjoy the sunshine. It could be a cache of yummy acorns or delectable berries -- who knows what they’ll find? Suddenly, in the midst of their foraging, their protective senses signal danger nearby. That sharp smell is none other than Big Purple Fuji Mama, and she is always looking for an opportunity to catch an unsuspecting chipmunk or bird. Sako and Suki call out urgently to warn the birds and anyone else who Fuji Mama might be hunting, but they have an even better idea of how to stop the wily cat.
Faith Balsama’s children’s story book about animals, Orange Chipmunks Rock, is a gorgeously illustrated guide to natural history that introduces children to chipmunks, turtles, frogs and snakes as the two heroes go off in search of their secret anti-cat weapon. Balsama’s illustrations are bold and brightly colored, complete with lovely washes and brush strokes that give movement and drama to each panel. You can see those birds darting away and the disturbed turtles splashing as they leave their sunny rocks when the chipmunks dash by. Each of these panels would work quite well framed and hung in a child’s bedroom. The story itself is lovely and perfectly suited for a young reader to try on their own or for group reading during story hour. Orange Chipmunks Rock is most highly recommended.