It’s the classic love story: lonely boy meets girl in bookstore, they take a walk in the park, then they fall in love over a romantic candlelit dinner. He asks her to be his Valentine and they live happily ever after—in a tree.
Mr. Peanuts and Rosie are squirrels. Real, live American Red squirrels, photographed by author Nancy Rose in her backyard in Bedford, Nova Scotia. The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story is the third in the series about Mr. Peanuts, an adorable little squirrel who has many adventures in the handcrafted sets Rose arranges on her back deck. While she lurks behind the patio doors with her camera, Mr. Peanuts and his friends scurry up, around and over the miniature props, looking for the nuts and treats she has hidden there. Rose never photoshops her photographs, but waits for her little squirrel friends to strike the right pose. Sometimes it takes as many as a hundred pictures to get that perfect shot, with the squirrels reaching for a book on a shelf, playing on the swing set, or looking deep into each other’s eyes beside the wishing well.
The tiny sets and props are perfectly constructed to delight children and grownups alike. A little picnic table, a badminton net and racket, an array of tiny books (all about squirrels!), a workbench and tools—are carefully built to scale. Rose also collects miniatures to use in her creations and sometimes friends find little treasures to give her, including a squirrel-sized grocery cart on wheels. The whole book has a handcrafted look, with a burlap-textured background and little rows of buttons, seeds and valentine hearts decorating the pages.
Rose’s love for these squirrels, her exquisite little sets and her finely-developed sense of whimsy combine to make this a charming book. Young readers will definitely want to see more of these curious little creatures.
The author’s website is really fun to look at, too.