We have been following the Squirky series since the first book, and after each book, Noah will ask me for the next one, as he wants to know if Squirky ever finds his papa and mama (his birth parents). When we read ‘How Do You Get to the Garden Galaxy?‘, I made the mistake of telling Noah that there’s one more book coming, because he hounded our postman for “my book”, until I figured out that he was waiting for the last Squirky book, and explained that it was still being printed. He was disappointed for a while, but when the final book, ‘When Does the Search End?‘ arrived, he was really excited, and asked to read it immediately.
As I’ve mentioned before, adoption is a very difficult topic to approach, especially for young children, and I’m glad that the Squirky series makes it a lot easier for parents to talk about it with our kids. As with most, if not all adoption cases, Squirky’s birth parents had no choice but to send Squirky away (or put him up for adoption in a way) because they were concerned for his safety and well-being, and wanted a better life for him. It is most certainly not an easy decision on the birth parents’ part, and we see that struggle in the earlier Squirky books, where we learn about how much his birth parents loved him, when Squirky and Emma encounter those who knew his birth parents. I personally feel that it is important that we are given the opportunity to see things from his birth parents’ perspective, so that the adopted child does not feel as though he/she was unloved or unwanted, and therefore put up for adoption.
The Squirky series
In this final installation of the Squirky series, we are shown the aftereffects of Squirky’s decision in ‘How Do You Get to the Garden Galaxy?‘, and I loved that Squirky’s emotions and feelings are carefully dealt with, and not swept under the carpet, which is definitely the more tempting option. Squirky understandably has good and bad days, and I appreciated the fact that his adoptive parents told him that it was okay to cry. They provided him with a safe place to express his feelings, which is important, as Squirky might feel isolated if he were told not to cry instead.
Deciding to return to his adoptive family is a big and very difficult decision for anyone, much less a five-year-old child, and it is only natural for Squirky to feel so conflicted. I felt like crying too when I read the book to Noah, because I just felt so sorry that Squirky had to choose between his birth and adoptive parents!
When Does the Search End?
The Squirky series also provides resources for parents of adopted children, sharing insights from other adoptive parents, on how to handle various situations with their adopted child(ren). I found the resources really interesting, and I think that it would be helpful for educators too, since they might also be in contact with adopted children.
I admit that after reading Book 4, ‘Where is my Mama?‘, I actually wrote to Melanie (the author, in case you haven’t figured that out yet) and sort of asked how the series would end, because I thought that if Squirky’s birth parents were still alive, they would want him back, and it would be tough to explain why Squirky went back to his birth parents, or why he didn’t. It would be tough either way, right? Yes, I shouldn’t cheat and ask the author directly, but I was just so curious! Melanie didn’t give anything away of course, apart from telling me that there would be a big revelation, and that the story would be “close-ended in an open-ended way”. I obviously didn’t get what she meant until I read this last book, and THAT is also why she’s an author and I’m not! 😛
The title, ‘When Does the Search End?‘, is very apt, as I think the search never truly ends, but I’m glad that Squirky has such a supportive adoptive family, who accompany him on his search for his birth parents. I’m sure he knows that he is very much loved and wanted by both his birth and adoptive parents, and I believe that that knowledge will help give him a sense of self-worth too.
Buy the Book The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #6: When Does the Search End? is available at all major bookstores
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.
Disclaimer: We received a copy of When Does the Search End? for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own.
If you and your children love Squirky, here are some Squirky-related activities that are coming up!
1. Launch of The Adventures of Squirky the Alien #6: When Does the Search End? [Note: This event is FREE and anyone can come!] Date: Sun 29 May 2016 Time: 3-3.30pm Venue: NLB Building, L1 Plaza
2. Squirky author Melanie will be co-presenting a talk on “Being Honest about Difficult Issues with Stories” with NIE Associate Professor Ruth Wong [Note: You will need to have signed up for either the Parents Forum or Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress] Date: Sun 29 May 2016 Time: 1.15-2.15pm Venue: NLB Building, L16 The Pod
Melanie will also be moderating two panels discussing themes close to the Squirky book series:
– #weneeddiversebooks. Really! [Note: You will need to have signed up for the Writers & Illustrators Conference] Date: Wed, 25 May Time: 2-3pm Venue: L5 Possibility Room
– To S.I.R. (Socially Inclusive Reads) with Love: A socially inclusive picture book for kids, with or without special needs [Note: You will need to have signed up for the Preschool & Primary Teachers Congress] Date: Sun 29 May 2016 Time: 11.15-12.15pm Venue: NLB Building, B1 Multipurpose Room
3. Meanwhile, Squirky illustrator David “Wolfe” Liew will also be out and about quite a bit. For those of you inspired by his art, do check out:
– Portfolio Review [Note: You will need to have signed up for the Writers & Illustrators Conference, and submitted your sample art to AFCC] Date: Fri, 29 May 2016 Time: 10.30am – 12.45pm Venue: NLB Building, L16 The Pod
– The Fabulour Fear Factor [Note: You will need to have signed up for the Writers & Illustrators Conference] Date: Fri 29 May 2016 Time: 10.30-11.30am Venue: NLB Building, B1 Multipurpose Room
– First Look: Illustration Critique [Note: You will need to have signed up for the Writers & Illustrators Conference, and submitted your sample art to AFCC] Date: Thurs, 28 May 2016 Time: 3.15-4.15pm Venue: NLB Building, L5 Imagination Room
For more information on this action-packed festival dedicated just to children’s content, do visit the AFCC website HERE.
We have two copies of ‘When Does the Search End?‘ to be given to two lucky readers of Growing with the Tans! To participate, please complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and conditions apply.
Terms and Conditions: This giveaway will end on Friday, 27th May 2016, at 2359h, and is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted via the particulars provided when entering this giveaway, and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be selected. All incomplete entries will be disqualified, and all entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsor, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (accounts set up purely to take part in contests, with no or very few real friends), will be disqualified. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
<div align="center"><a href="http://growingwiththetans.com/category/friday-flips/" rel="nofollow" title="Growing with the Tans Friday Flips" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u391/growingwiththetans/ddfe71e0-1833-4e8f-a5d8-44a1ccef101b_zps78fef841.jpg" alt="Growing with the Tans Friday Flips" style="border:none;" /></a></div>