Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Those Darn Squirrels!

Rubin, Adam (Author)
Salmieri, Daniel (Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2008
ISBN: 9780547576817 (paperback)
9780547007038 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Old Man Fookwire does not tolerate much in his house on the outskirts of town. Except birds. He enjoys them so much, he decides to build beautiful feeders for them, so they won’t fly south in winter. Soon, squirrels plague his yard, eating up the seeds and berries. Fookwire’s ever more complicated contraptions fail to keep the pesky animals away. The squirrels prove to be quite creative and, reluctantly, Old Man Fookwire adopts his new friends, albeit through clenched teeth, realizing they need each other.

Quirky storytelling is perfectly complemented with offbeat illustrations, working in tandem to flesh out the world of Fookwire and the squirrels. Speckled backgrounds and large images are crammed with fantastic detail: from Fookwire’s inventions and contraptions to the squirrels’ stockpiles of junk. The balding, long-necked, gangly-limbed old man sits in lovely contrast to his bloated-bellied squirrel enemies, as they battle it out with increasingly hilarious results.

Text is highly entertaining and packed with clever details. The squirrels stay up all night to strategize: “They put on their tiny helmets and prepared to launch themselves . . . over the fence, between the lasers, and onto the birdfeeders.”

A humorous take on human/animal relationships and how we can all learn to live in harmony.

  •  

    Make predictions about the story based on the cover illustration, title and your personal experiences with squirrels.

  •  

    As you read, discuss whether you support Mr. Fookwire or the squirrels in the battle of the birdseed. Explain why the squirrels should or should not get to eat the birdseed.

  •  With a partner or small group, invent your own squirrel-proof birdfeeder. Draw a diagram and explain how it works to another group.
  •  

    Write a friendly letter to Mr. Fookwire offering advice about how to be happier and less grumpy.

  •  

    As you examine the cover, predict what the story might be about. Discuss how you feel about squirrels.

  •  

    Draw a character map for Mr. Fookwire. Include his physical description and character traits.

  •  

    Discuss the different equipment and simple machines depicted in the illustrations. Research their correct names.

  •  

    Work with a partner and use some of the machines and equipment to design (or create) a new version of a feeder for birds or squirrels. Explain to other teams how it would work.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology
  • Visual Arts