Children’s book review: “Unlimited squirrels in the frustrating book!” by Mo Willems



It has been over a year since the last Unlimited squirrels book by Mo Willems (it’s frustrating!) and while the characters have since launched an animated series on HBO Max (it’s exciting!), it’s time to go back to their roots (it’s happy!). Young readers can now explore their feelings with the fifth book, Unlimited squirrels in the frustrating book!, now available from Disney/Hyperion. As you should have guessed by now, this series of books is about emotions and this volume is about frustration and disappointment.


Split into several parts, “The Big Story” finds Zip and Zap opening a Feelings booth. Everyone can stop by to try new thrills, and Zoom Squirrel is their first squirrel friend to accept the offer. Zoom isn’t used to feelings of disappointment and frustration, so when it turns out that’s all Zip and Zap have to offer, he’s understandably… disappointed and frustrated.

Emote-Acorns are back, themed emojis that appear on the page to help kids understand the emotional roller coaster of the story. In this book, these include happy, sad, confused, scared, excited, and the titular emotion, frustrated. Parents and educators can use them to start a discussion with their children about emotions and how to express them in healthy ways. Disney even offers online resources, like a Educator’s Guide to the Unlimited Squirrels Series and Printable activity sheets for The frustrating book!

The fun doesn’t stop with “The Big Story.” It actually starts early with some behind-the-scenes talk, like Unlimited squirrels looks like a TV show, with Flappy Squirrel (who is, in fact, a duck) playing the role of stage manager. It reminds of an episode of The puppet show and in The frustrating book!, Zoom Squirrel isn’t the only frustrated character. Happy Squirrel has something he wants to share and Flappy Squirrel keeps making him wait his turn. Then there are the “Acorn-y Joke” segments, in which Hi-Corn continues to ruin the punchline of all Hey-Corn jokes. And straight from Unlimited Squirrels Labs (it’s not called that, but it sounds like a nod to Muppet Labs), there’s Research Rodent examining Zip, Zap, and Zoom after their experiments in “The Big Story “.

Unlimited squirrels in the frustrating book! may be the fifth book in this Mo Willems series, but it’s also a great place to start. Disappointment and frustration are difficult feelings for children to manage and this volume gives them and their parents/caregivers useful tools to process and regulate. Told through Willems’ signature bubble style, Unlimited squirrels in the frustrating book! is fun and easy to read, full of laughs for kids and parents. There’s a reason Mo Willems is one of the most awarded children’s authors of our time with his ability to craft engaging characters and tell fun short stories while incorporating teachable moments for kids. children and adults.

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