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Review: Bird & Squirrel: On the Run! by James Burks

Bird & Squirrel: On the Run!
By James Burks

Graphix (Scholastic)

ISBN: 9780545312837
Grades 2-4
In Stores August, 2012

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

When the cover of a book looks like the graphic novel equivalent of Angry Birds (an astute observation I can’t take credit for – that was Cindy of Bookends), I couldn’t help but come down with a brief case of meta cynicism. You know, when you have a cynical attitude about the possibility of a book having a cynical tone. Then I read it. Meta cynicism cured. With Bird & Squirrel: On the Run! James Burks (Gabby & Gator) brings a story of friendship that is as joyous as it is action packed.

Bird is planning on flying south for the winter, but he’s just having too much fun hanging out in the forest. Until the hungry Cat comes along. This is where fretful Squirrel enters the tale – Bird’s narrow escape from Cat has collateral damage – Squirrel’s winter food supply ends up floating down the river.

Thanks to you, I have no food
And no food food plus winter equals…death

Bird has a plan – Squirrel will migrate south with him to find food. The pair set off on their journey, but Cat is still lurking about, intent on cutting their trip short.

The artwork is tailor-made for drawing young eyeballs. If you’re looking for a book that will be a hold shelf lock, this is it. Vibrant colors jump off the page, and characters emote liberally, giving the whole operation the vibe of animation in book form. It’s a crowd-pleasing look.

Page-turning fun with a solid story to make everything hang together nicely. A no-brainer for your graphic novel collection.

Review copy from the publisher.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Isn’t this one fun? I can’t wait to see it in full color!

  2. I like your term “meta cynicism”