Suzie Slither's Woods
by Wanda Birchler
LitFire Publishing

"The whole woods rejoiced that the one friend who was lost had now been found, and their ‘family’ was once again complete. Friends and family are truly the best life has to offer."

There is much to enjoy in this positive collection of tales following Suzie Slither and her woodland friends. Suzie is a friendly and curious “pretty little snake” who is “green with orange and brown stripes.” She lives on a Missouri farm where her innocent curiosity gets her into troublesome predicaments. Thankfully, she is among equally curious and supportive friends. As Suzie learns from her mistakes, appreciating the great big world around her, Bircher imparts important lessons about kindness and friendship to her young readers.

Comprised of four chapters, the book presents four different whimsical situations. During a game of hide-and-seek, Suzie plummets into a water well and must wait for her friends to find her and help her out. Searching for food with the onset of winter, Suzie ends up with an unusual meal for a snake. Exploring the farm where she lives, Suzie enjoys the changing of the seasons and a bit of fun. Henry Hedgehog is the central character in the last chapter and learns about differences, which makes for a slight departure from the rest of the book.

Birchler portrays a host of endearing characters with humanlike qualities, such as Tammy Turtle, Ronny Raccoon, Billy Beaver, and Skeeter Skunk. The stories are charming and easy for young readers to relate to and understand. They are accompanied by classic and colorful pencil-drawn illustrations by the author and two others: Jennifer Selva Watkins and Candace Martin. Each chapter is followed by a song written by David Williams that creatively summarizes the events of the chapter using rhyme and recognizable song tunes. As a retired preschool teacher, Birchler certainly has the requisite experience to help teach young children the value of kindness, sharing, and accepting others for who they are. Her charming book is a gift for us.

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