Scratchy the Squirrel

A Time for Friends

Children - Adventure
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 01/30/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Paul Yanuziello is a writer, storyteller, musician, martial arts instructor and an author. The opportunity to write and teach full time in 2017, as well as his passion for teaching and learning from children, became the motivational force to publish his first children’s book. In 2019, he published, Samba on a Snowy Day, to glowing reviews. He introduced his second book Samba in Brazil, book 2 in The Samba Dog book series in 2021. A highly skilled martial artist, Yanuziello now instructs adults and children in Japanese martial arts. When Yanuziello is not teaching or learning martial arts, he can be found writing, reading or practising shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) in his sanctuary near the Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada. To keep up to date with Paul, visit paulyanuziello.com and remember, to subscribe to his blog; My Weekly Journal.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Scratchy is always itchy. An active squirrel who loves to run around collecting and eating all kinds of nuts, he finds this one itch rather annoying. Also annoying is Mr. Bald Eagle who often hovers and threatens Scratchy, forcing him to run and hide. Otherwise, Scratchy has a pleasant life, with a lovely treehouse that he built himself. Mrs. Farmer often gives him treats and chases away Mr. Bald Eagle. So, Scratchy’s used to having friends and being friendly. When finding a bumblebee struggling to fly with broken wings, he thinks nothing of trying to help her. In the process, he teaches Miss Bee how to accept help graciously and, in turn, reach out to help others as Scratchy did to Miss Bee.

Paul Yanuziello’s early chapter book, Scratchy the Squirrel: A Time for Friends, is all about friendships: caring for others despite the obvious differences. The language is simple to help young readers with their language skills. The font is large and bold and the illustrations soft and engaging. The plot follows Scratchy as he introduces his lifestyle, his home, and what he likes to eat best. After befriending Miss Bee, Scratchy shares what he learns about bumblebees. Then the story follows Miss Bee as she recovers from her injury, learns to fly again, and finds a hive of her own, in the process sharing some interesting facts about bumblebees and her particular type of bumblebee. And, if you're wondering about Scratchy's irritable itch, read the story and see how the issue is resolved. The story ends with a list of interesting fun facts for young readers. The story is engaging, entertaining, and educational, packed with powerful messages about friendships and helping others in need. Loved it!

Rylanne Burdette

What happens when a squirrel and a bee interact with each other for the first time? When Scratchy the squirrel discovers a bee with broken wings, he brings her into his home to care for her while she rehabilitates. He watches her attempt to fly every day until she is finally back on her wings again, but throughout this time, Scratchy deals with annoying itches that pop up around his body. When the bee eventually leaves Scratchy’s home to become the queen of a beehive, Scratchy doesn’t realize that he has made a lifelong friend in the bee, and she ends up bringing him honey that helps cure his itchy fur! Scratchy the Squirrel by Paul Yanuziello is an adventure-filled story that all children are sure to love.

Scratchy the Squirrel is very much a book that embraces friendship, and I really enjoyed seeing Scratchy form such a strong bond with a character who might not have been a conventional friend. His relationship with the bee was cute to see, and I liked that Scratchy put her needs before his own when she was injured and trying to fly again. The illustrations introducing each chapter were fun and entertaining to look at; the splash of color that the queen bee provided was just wonderful! Overall, I enjoyed Scratchy the Squirrel by Paul Yanuziello and would recommend it to children who are looking for a quick and easy chapter book to read about two unlikely friends forming a solid bond.

Kristine Zimmerman

Scratchy the Squirrel: A Time for Friends by Paul Yanuziello is a sweet, simple story about an unlikely friendship. Scratchy is a black squirrel with a persistent itch. Scratchy's days consist of hunting for nuts and avoiding Mr. Bald Eagle. One day he must make a quick getaway from Mr. Bald Eagle from his hiding spot, but he sees a bumblebee with damaged wings. She is having trouble flying, so he decides to bring her to his treehouse. Even though they don't speak each other's language, they can communicate. Miss Bee, as he calls her, recovers and must find a hive to hibernate in during the winter. Will Miss Bee and Scratchy continue their friendship? Several interesting facts about bumblebees and squirrels are included at the end.

Scratchy the Squirrel: A Time for Friends is an interesting early reader story. Paul Yanuziello has woven actual animal behavior into the narrative. Miss Bee is a cuckoo bumblebee, which I've never heard of. The description of how she infiltrates another hive and takes it over was extremely fascinating. Yanuziello has done an amazing job of writing an interesting, yet accessible story for kids who are ready for beginning chapter books. Fans of Mercy Watson will enjoy getting to know Scratchy the Squirrel. Joshua Miller's mostly black and white illustrations with a few pops of color add just the right touch to the story. Scratchy the Squirrel is the perfect choice for kids ready to graduate to chapter books. Hopefully, there are more adventures ahead for Scratchy the Squirrel and Miss Bee.