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Backstory

Squirrelly Q is an Eastern Gray squirrel.  They breed twice a year with the first litter typically in February/ March and Squirrelly Q is born towards the end of winter.  Squirrelly Q's litter included multiple "squirrel siblings," but they were weaned sooner than Squirrelly Q and left the nest before he was ready.  That is why he is alone when he wakes up at the beginning of the story. 

The story begins when "just born" Squirrelly Q looks more like a mouse than a squirrel.  He is hairless, pinkish, and doesn't have a voice yet.  While he grows bigger and grows more hair as the book progresses, he still doesn't look quite like a squirrel until the very end.  He is a very unique critter since his tail is like no other, so this adds to the mystery of what kind of animal he is for his new friends.

It is snowy and cold when Squirrelly Q is born, but the weather quickly progresses to early spring as the book continues.  The snow melts throughout the pages as spring blossoms and cold turns to warmth.  Squirrelly Q also feels less cold and afraid and more warm and fuzzy as he gets closer to finding his Mom, which mimics the transition from winter to spring.

Setting

Beyond a doubt, Central Park was the perfect and only option for this story.  It is like the park whispered this story to me, not that I built my concept upon it.  It was truly born there in my photographs of the original Squirrelly Q, the inspiration from my personal visits, and the magic that lives in the nature and beauty of the park and amazing city all around it.  There is a harmony in the park that is more pronounced than any other park I have visited.  Perhaps it's because it's in stark contrast to the hussle and bussle of the city around it, but the beauty and solace of Central Park is unmatched and pure magic.

Personal photos from my trips to NYC

Do these look familiar?

These exact photos were given to the illustrator to bring the story to life!

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The original Squirrelly Q

in Central Park

This squirrel inspired the character on a trip to NYC in 2009 

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