Red, Squirrel, and Birdie are a happy family, but Squirrel is very anxious about letting Birdie do anything at all risky. When Red has to deliver some herbs downstream and needs to be away for a few days, Birdie is looking forward to doing exciting things like river rafting. Squirrel says no to all of these exciting activities, wanting Birdie to read quietly indoors. When Bird arrives and claims to have seen Bigfoot, Birdie wants to go investigating. Bird points out to Squirrel that it's better for Birdie to learn survival skills while they are with him so that when he is on his own, he will be alright. Reluctantly, Squirrel agrees. The groups runs into dangerous spiders and has a few close calls, but Birdie has an exciting time and learns important lessons about confronting danger appropriately, with his father and friend at his side.
The story is a good one, especially for parents who want to protect their children from imagined harm. Squirrel's nightmares always showcase Birdie being lost or having run away, even though he is always by Squirrel's side. Bird is a nice foil and helps Squirrel give Birdie some much needed space.
It's nice to see that Birdie isn't daunted by his father's fears, but feels that he is strong and ready to tackle anything, despite Squirrel's insistence that he must be protected. When the group is caught out in a storm, though, I'm not sure that their decision to stay with a fox is a particularly good one, even if she is very old and turns out to be well meaning!
Readers who are just starting to get through beginning chapter books will find the format, text size, and plot just right for their abilities, and can add the Bird and Squirrel series to books like Braddock's Stinky Cecil, Eaton's Flying Beaver Brothers, Blabey's Bad Guys or Winnick's Hilo.