Sammy the Flying Squirrel: Who was Afraid to Fly
by Zivile Cecilia Brubeck
Archway Publishing

"’Hi, my name is Sammy. Who are you, and why are you digging?’"

Sammy, a little flying squirrel, lives with his family in an oak tree. He loves to play in the trees and jump from branch to branch. One day he meets Sarah, a little red squirrel who is digging in the ground for her hidden acorns. She invites him to help, and they find they like playing together. They play daily, but Sammy's mother keeps asking him to do his flying lessons. He keeps refusing to do so by indicating he's too busy. But in truth, Sammy is scared to glide. One day, Sarah falls off the tree, and Thomas the Terrible Tomcat, who is jealous of the squirrels' friendship, finds her on the ground. As Thomas is getting ready to attack, Sammy flies down from the tree and rescues Sarah.

This great story with nice illustrations teaches the importance of family, friendship, play, coping with fear, and courage. As Sammy's family is supportive of his learning to fly, they show the importance of family. Play is very important in childhood (and adulthood), and the tale reveals how fun life can be. Sammy's friendship with Sarah highlights the value of friendship and illustrates that true friendship is helping one another. Likewise, in admitting to Sarah he was scared to fly, he is able to be vulnerable and trust her reaction. This is a courageous act, for overcoming fear is a fact of life. In this very nice teaching story, children will be able to relate to being scared and how to overcome it. They will also connect through reading about animals, which is a valuable way to teach lessons to children.

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