What Happens When a Squirrel Discovers the Wheel? Evolution Revolution!

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Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines by Charlotte Bennardo

Jack is a squirrel who's just a little bit smarter than others. He knows how to avoid traps, and he knows how to get around barriers to bird feeders. And he knows that the young boy, Collin, who sits outside in his wheelchair, will feed him treats.

He also knows that when the big yellow machines show up, it means more trees will be torn down and more human dens will appear. And now the big machines have shown up at the edge of the woods where his nest is.

But Jack -- so named by Collin -- has also learned something. He's learned what a wheel is, how it works -- and how it can be stopped. Using this tiny bit of knowledge, Squirrel communicates to the rest of the forest creatures and organizes them to work together to stop the machines from threatening their homes and their lives. But as Jack and the other animals are about to discover: a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Because humans don't like to lose.



EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: SIMPLE MACHINES is the first book of a series that evokes the spirit of children's classics like CHARLOTTE'S WEB and MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH, and is perhaps a tamer (and, by all counts, better) version of James Patterson's ZOO. Told from Jack's point of view, author Charlotte Bennardo gives the reader a unique and charming perspective, one that isn't the sanitized animated classic view of animals but one that keeps them as true to their natural form as the story allows, including the interactions between predator and prey.

It's a charming little fiction / science fiction piece until you learn about things like squirrels attacking politicians for saying mean things about them, at which point there's maybe a little more to ponder on the subject. For now, enjoy Bennardo's fiction -- before it becomes a little too real.

4.5 / 5.0