The Pudgy Squirrel is a marvelous little gem of a children’s book, written and illustrated by German author, Markus de Vries. Importantly, this slim volume tackles important issues of mental health, such as depression, anxiety and addiction, in simple language to which a child can relate. Through following the adventures of our hero Squirrel, the child is introduced to a variety of animal friends who are suffering obstacles until Pudgy helps them in small ways.
The illustrations are beautiful and children will be captivated by the bright graphics. The language is cute and idiosyncratic – perhaps as a result of being a translation? – but all the more endearing for it. (I like to think that this is how the animals may speak.) Parents may be thrown off by the odd typo here and there, which I’ve been assured will be corrected for future editions, but children will be drawn in by the story.
Kudos to Markus de Vries for filling a need in an under-served genre, that of addressing mental health issues with young children. Readers may find that they recognize traits in themselves or family members, that are explained in a compassionate manner, with loving acceptance. We look forward to reading future books from this fresh new voice in the field of children’s literature!