Trash Mountain

Trash Mountain - Jane Yolen I bought this book because animal fantasy is one of my favorite genres (especially when it involves rodents, and then especially when those rodents are squirrels). However, it turned out to be a complete disappointment. It is outrageous how much Britain's gray squirrels are vilified in the media, and this book is no exception. From what I've heard, it all mainly comes from propaganda spread by people who have monetary interest in killing these innocent animals. The real reason for the red squirrels' decline is habitat loss from human activity (in-depth information can be found at these websites: and I was surprised that such a book could come from as good an author as Jane Yolen, and it is alarming that a story aimed at impressionable children could be so consistently negative toward a species of animal. The supposed facts - actually falsehoods - throughout will do nothing but mislead them and cause gray squirrels to be the objects of undeserved hatred. It would have been much better if Nutley had learned that they are not so bad after all. A possible friendship between he and the gray squirrel Groundling is promising at first but is never allowed to develop. Nutley's view of the grays does not change; the reader is left with the conclusion that all of them are irredeemably evil. Ultimately, no matter their part in driving the red squirrel from Britain, they are certainly not doing anything out of malice; in reality, they aren't directly attacking the reds and in some cases have lived peacefully alongside them for years. Grays and reds have at times actually shared dreys! I know this book is fictionalized, but even with anthropomorphized animals, there should be some basis in truth and a positive message for children. You won't find that here. Instead, I recommend you pick up [b:Cyril's Woodland Quest|1795885|Cyril's Woodland Quest|Eugene McCabe||1794934], a story about red and grey squirrels that addresses the folly of prejudices.