The Flying Squirrel That Wouldn’t is a new children’s book by Dr. Hal Mahan, biologist and co-owner of The Compleat Naturalist. He chose the flying squirrel, he says, because it is an animal that is sure to capture the imagination, as it is one of the few mammals that “flies.” Although not capable of flight in the same way as birds or bats, it is able to glide from tree to tree with the aid of a furry, parachute-like membrane that stretches on each side from wrist to ankle. During flight they are able to steer and control their glide path by using their tail and legs.
His new book centers on bravery, with a flying squirrel named Tommy as its central character. The Flying Squirrel That Wouldn’t is illustrated by Asheville artist, Marcia Dockey Smith. Her soft watercolors add a gentleness to the book’s look, and help tell Hal Mahan’s whimsical story of Tommy and his family as they do what flying squirrels do.