- Published: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2010.
- Year Published: 2010
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: viii, 159 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 19 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
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Squirrel seeks chipmunk : a modest bestiary
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Call number: 817 Se
Available Copies: Downtown 3rd Floor, Malletts Adult, Pittsfield Adult, Traverwood Adult
The cat and the baboon -- The migrating warblers -- The squirrel and the chipmunk -- The toad, the turtle, and the duck -- The motherless bear -- The mouse and the snake -- The parenting storks -- The faithful setter -- The crow and the lamb -- The sick rat and the healthy rat -- The cow and the turkey -- The vigilant rabbit -- The judicious brown chicken -- The parrot and the potbellied pig -- Hello kitty -- The grieving owl.
The author presents a collection of three animal-themed essays. In The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck, a group of complete strangers bitterly discuss the order of things within the animal kingdom. In Hello Kitty, a miserable alcoholic cat attends AA. In The Squirrel and the Chipmunk, two lovers are torn apart by their quarreling families.
Though the concept is hilarious (as is Sedaris’s original title: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls), most of the stories did not make it there; it just wasn't funny enough. True, there were some stories like “The Cow and the Turkey” and “The Judicious Brown Hen” that made me laugh, but for each of them, there are two “The Migrating Warblers,” that weren’t worth reading.
I think I would have a different opinion had I listened to the audio book rather than reading a physical copy. Sedaris has performed a handful of these stories on the radio show This American Life, and I thought they were amusing there; Sedaris just has a way of making anything sound funny. Of course, had I gone with the audio book, I would have missed the wonderful illustrations done by Ian Falconer (best known for the Olivia series of picture books). And missing those would have been a shame.
Some of the early stories got me laughing. I guess I could admire the situational set-up, the brief but effective character development and the moral at the end. This formula faded as the book continued and the stories got stranger and more cruel. I was on board at the beginning but skimmed the last few, being too weirded out to make it all the way.
I hope his next book gets back to his life and every day observations.
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