This is an enchanting tale of Lucky, a young red squirrel who finds himself living with a clan of grey squirrels after being abducted and then dropped by a bird of prey. His new home is totally unfamiliar and full of dangers, not least from other clans of squirrels who are competing for the same food supplies and territory. It is a story about family, loyalty and friendship but with the obligatory villains who are out to gain power at any cost; evil uncles exist even in squirrel society. Importantly these are real animals and behave as such, rather than being pseudo-humans. Whilst the squirrels are the focus of the main plot they have a supporting cast of dogs and a young city fox who must be a great trial to her mother!
Lucky is the first published work by Chris Hill and it augurs well for her future as a writer for young children. It is full of adventure and action giving us a real desire to follow the story. The characters are delightful and whilst there are moments of danger and even bloodshed, there is also friendship and humour. This follows on the tradition of so many other animal based stories but its setting in a park allows for a mix of the wild and the tame; emphasizing how animals have adapted to their environment over the years. It is so good to find such well written books being produced for the newly confident readers. There is an excellent plot, well-paced, and with strong characters and a sense that this has an important underlying message to us all. I look forward to seeing more from this author. The book itself will do very well with lower KS2 pupils and younger children who are strong readers.