Who is the Mystery Reader?

Hyperion. (Unlimited Squirrels). Oct. 2019. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781368046862.
K-Gr 2–The gang from I Lost My Tooth is back in three episodic vignettes tied together by squirrels, puns, and acorn jokes. A group of squirrels halts before a red octagonal sign because they cannot read it. A squirrel enters wearing a red mask and underpants. He is the Mystery Reader and shows the other squirrels how to sound out words. Silliness follows as the squirrels try to figure out the Mystery Reader’s identity (insert a joke told by anthropomorphized acorns). In the next sketch, Wonder Squirrel wonders what the first writing looked like. This is followed by actual facts about cuneiform and hieroglyphics. And another acorn joke. In the third sketch, two squirrels want to know how they got into the book and are told the story about Mo Squirrel and how ideas become a book. The concepts are a bit more sophisticated than Willems’s previous series titles and the factual material is a higher reading level than the rest of the book. Still, the mashup of stories is oddly cohesive and has the feel of an animated cartoon.
VERDICT Willems’s fans will enjoy this offering. After all, who can resist a squirrel in underpants?

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