Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo
Author: Sam Campbell
Series: Living Forest
Major Themes: Animals, Squirrels, Wilderness, Wisconsin, World War II
Synopsis: A naturalist tells the story of a set of baby squirrels he, his wife, and a young soldier friend raised, and how the squirrels helped provide therapy to the soldier later.
I have enjoyed Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series for many years. When I was young, animal stories were among my favorites to read. Because I enjoyed them so much, I decided to read the series to my children now.
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo begins with a neighbor bringing four tiny baby squirrels to the Sanctuary—and a fifth one the next day! Sam and Giny, and Duke, the young man who was spending some time with them, spend a lot of time trying to feed the “squints” (squirrel quintuplets). Duke was a young man who loved life and found humor in every situation—but then he had to go off to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese.
Sam and Giny continued caring for the squints until the tiny animals took off on their own, and sent reports frequently to Duke, knowing that he needed the diversion to remain sane. And then came the day that Duke was injured and his best friend was missing in action. By this time, all but one of the squints had disappeared over the winter. When Duke came to spend time at the Sanctuary while he recovered, he was a shadow of himself—could the woods help him to heal?
We enjoyed this story more than the first book we read in the series. This one has less philosophy. There is still some, and while adults can enjoy it and benefit from it, children don’t like it.
I found it fascinating to watch the way the author wove the story of the squirrels together with that of a soldier trying to cope with fighting in the jungles of the Pacific and then recovering from the trauma of injury and losing a close friend. This is a perspective of World War II that I haven’t seen very often. It was also intriguing how important the animals and nature were to the soldier’s recovery.
If you enjoy reading about animals acting naturally, in their natural habitat, you will enjoy this book. If you want to read it to young children, just take the time to go through and pick out the more interesting stories, and they will love the antics of the squirrels.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Keywords: Animals, Squirrels, Wilderness, Wisconsin, World War II