"The Hundred Acre Wood" meets "Watership Down" in this outdoor romp destined to be a classic. You'll cheer for Jack and his woodland companions."
Darlene Beck-Jacobsen, author, Wheels of Change. Notable Book 2015 National Council of Social Studies and Children's Book Council
Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel.Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines is her first solo novel. She is also the co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and theSirenz series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, Flux), and one of 13 authors in the anthology, Beware the Little White Rabbit(Leap). She’s written for magazines and newspapers, and has given presentations and workshops at NJ SCBWI conferences. Currently she’s working on sci fi, historical, fantasy, and time travel novels and loves to hear from fans on Twitter (charbennardo) or through her blog, http://charlotteebennardo.
Cathleen has been a published illustrator since 1990. Her clients include Simon & Schuster, Barnes & Noble, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Legend cathleendaniels.com
Jack, a gray squirrel, is declaring war against the construction machines that have come to cut down his woods and destroy his nest. With the help of Collin, a boy he has befriended, Jack learns words and how to use simple machines like the wheel. He thinks he can stop the machines, if he can convince the other woodland animals to join him in the fight. But as they take on the humans and their machines, people are noticing that Jack and his friends are smarter than ordinary forest animals. All of them are in more danger than they realize and now have to outsmart the scientists that are very interested in capturing them.
While he chewed the nut-mud covered fruit happily, he and the boy stared at each other in silence, until the boy broke it with his soft voice, so unlike Gracie’s screeching.
“You need a name, squirrel. I see you almost every day, and now that you feel safe enough to sit on my table, we’re friends. And friends have names. I’m Collin, but I guess you can’t say that. You can call me “whuck,” whatever that means. Since I can’t speak squirrel, I’m going to call you Jack,” he said, smiling at him, “after my favorite pirate. He was a wily guy, too.”
“Collin, Collin,” he said, patting himself.
“Jack, Jack,” he said, pointing to him.
The boy was Collin and he was Jack. He understood. He liked his human name. He would let the boy call him Jack. In agreement, he trilled and flicked his tail.
“Well, Jack, have a seat while I work on my remote control car. I’m building it from this kit, and you can watch.”
While Collin put pieces together, Jack devoured the last of his banana. Suddenly, loud voices and terrible noises cascaded over the fence, and he froze. Clanging, banging metal and splintering trees stung his sensitive ears. He smelled something burning; not wood, but something thick and black. Something from machines. The scent of fresh sap mingled with it in his nose. He twitched his tail and gripped his paws in distress.
“Ta-cherr! Ta-cherr!” he chattered.
“What’s the matter, Jack?” asked Collin. A machine snarled as it destroyed more
“I know, the noise bothers me too,” said Collin nodding, as he returned to pushing things around in the box. “They’re building another house. Maybe even some across the street. Too bad. I liked to watch the cardinals that lived in the nest in the huge maple tree.” He stared at Jack. “I hope you don’t live there, Jack.”