The squirrel and the lost treasure by Coralie Bickford-Smith

cover image

As autumn turns to winter in the woods, and leaves and acorns fall, the young squirrel watches others scrabble to collect them, murmuring about a secret place in the centre of the forest where no trees grow at all. As night falls she sees a solitary acorn lying in the leaves and gathering it quickly, she clutches it all night determined not to let it go ever. When dawn broke she heads for the centre of the forest where there are no trees no birdsong, and no other squirrels to steal her precious prize. And there she buries it safe from the cold and snow to come.

After the long winter finally passes and Spring comes again, the squirrel hurries to find her treasure - but where is it? And why has everything changed?

The creator of this "fable about growth, new life and finding hope in unexpected places" describes herself as "a designer of fine things, mostly books" and her talent is very obvious not only in the lyrical, almost poetic text of this book but also its presentation. Author-illustrator of this as well as The Fox and the Star (2015) - the first picture book to win the Waterstones Book of the Year award - The Bird and the Worm (2017), The Song of the Tree (2020) and the designer of many more, particularly the Clothbound Classics series from Penguin, she has a distinctive style which turns a seemingly-simple story into something so much more, harking back to a style of bygone times.

This has a place in any library collection as much for its presentation as its contents offering goodies as rich as the acorn the little squirrel buried.

Barbara Braxton