Meet Toaff: a lovable squirrel, and new standout character, searching for a place to call home in this gem of a story by a Newbery Medal-winning author.
Toaff is a small squirrel full of big questions. Why must I stay away from the human's house? Why shouldn't I go beyond the pine trees? Why do we fight with the red squirrels across the drive? His sister shrugs--that's just the way things are. His brother bullies--because I said so. And the older squirrels scold--too many questions! Can Toaff really be the only one to wonder why?
When a winter storm separates him from his family, Toaff must make his own way in the world. It's a world filled with danger--from foxes and hawks and cats to cars and chainsaws. But also filled with delight--the dizzying scent of apple blossoms, the silvery sound of singing, the joy of leaping so far you're practically flying. Over the course of a year, Toaff will move into (and out of) many different dreys and dens, make some very surprising friends (and a few enemies), and begin to answer his biggest questions--what do I believe and where do I belong?
Master storyteller Cynthia Voigt offers readers a rich and rewarding story of finding one's way in the world.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
This novel for young readers is a darling coming of age story of Toaff, the adorable munchkin little Gray squirrel. He lives with his mom and two other siblings in a tree when he emerges from their nest-hole to go outside for the very first time. It is winter and he does not know yet about weather and seasons; nor does he know he can jump from tree branch to tree branch. His brother Braff is a little know it all and tells him all about the world out there. Toaff believes him until he finds out for himself that Braff may not have it all right!
The Gray squirrels live by the driveway of a family home and farm. On the other side of the driveway are the Churrchurrs in the adjacent woods. Another type of squirrel described in the story. Both kinds hate each other…or do they?
Toaff learns so much on his first outings. He learns his leaps, he learns how to forage for food and he learns about the humans that live in their house with their two dogs. He watches them often and finds their way of communication interesting. Especially when the mother sings to her baby. But there are strange sounds coming from machines that the man is using to tend to his land. And one day…out of the blue, Toaff finds himself tumbling in his own home as his tree falls over after a bad storm. As he has to search for a new suitable home, he learns that the farmer has a machine that cuts the tree into log pieces for firewood.
This is where Toaff’s adventure really starts. He has to find a new area to live and sometimes it gets dangerous for a little squirrel out there. Will he live in the cherry tree near the human house? Or with mice…oh those stinking mice under the human house? Should he dare to venture across the driveway or behind the house where the Red squirrels live?
As Toaff goes to explore and the seasons change, he makes friends and foes. He encounters birds of prey and foxes, he escapes danger, rescues others in need and endures times of hunger. At last he has made so many experiences, that he can stand up to his brother Braff with the truth about so many misconceptions he had told him about the world around them. And this gives Toaff peace. He makes his home and the farmer actually puts out a feeder right besides his new home.
This is a story to enjoy by a proficient reader in the upper elementary age. There are words used that are a bit uncommon that a child has to be able to recognize and in turn interpret like: whuffled, nest-barn, nest-house, Chuckchuks, as well as the languages used by other critters and animals in the story.
I found this book super adorable and it had a few sweet illustrations in it. There also is a lot of information about the natural world hidden in the story. So as Toaff learns about his surroundings as a little one, the reader learns alongside him about nuts, seeds, fruits, trees, animal behaviors, animal shelters and maintenance, birds of prey and carnivores and the food & life cycles.
Toaff’s Way is a gentle read for the nature enthusiast and would make a wonderful gift to give a young reader to enjoy.
I received a digital copy of Toaff's Way from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!