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Those Darn Squirrels: and the Cat Next Door    by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri order for
Those Darn Squirrels
by Adam Rubin
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

If a book makes my first-grader giggle, then it is a winner in my eyes. Objectively, though, this picture book certainly has all the elements of a winner, between the catchy language, the funny story line and the intentionally exaggerated illustrations. Besides, who doesn't like to see a villain switch places with his victim?

Old Man Fookwire was tormented by squirrels: they paid unannounced visits during the winter. They ate his food and even finished his crossword puzzle. 'Those darn squirrels,' he would relentlessly yell, shaking his fists at them, but to no avail: they kept returning.

Finally it was spring and Old Man Fookwire was able to go outside and pursue his favorite activity: setting up his easel and painting the colorful birds. Being an old grump, though, he didn't care for his new neighbor, the town baker, Little Old Lady Hu. She brought along her cat, Muffins, who, 'was a real jerk.'

Muffins tormented the squirrels:

'The dastardly cat grabbed one squirrel and gave him a wet willy.
He snatched another and gave her a noogie.
Then he tied two squirrels' tails together.

And then the next day:

'The sneaky cat pounced on an unsuspecting group of squirrels and gave them all wedgies - not an easy thing to do because generally squirrels do not wear underpants.'

Muffins' antics with the squirrels caused the birds to go into hiding, which really angered Old Man Fookwire.

Happy endings abound in children's books, though, because eventually, the squirrels outwitted Muffins, causing Muffins to stay inside the house forevermore, and prompting Old Man Fookwire to be grateful to 'those darn squirrels.'

The story makes a very funny and wonderful read-aloud that young children will be sure to request again and again.

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