Squirrel in the House
by Vivian Vande Velde (Author) and Steve Bjorkman (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Squirrel is ready to party as he enters Cuddles the dog’s house through a special entrance for squirrels on the roof, aka the chimney. Holiday festivities are soon in shambles, and Cuddles, the presumed culprit, is banished to the basement. Meanwhile, the littlest human runs away into a snowstorm unnoticed by everyone except Squirrel. Long-suffering Cuddles must team up with the willfully obtuse Squirrel to rescue the child in this comical story told from a squirrel-centric point of view.

Snippet: The dog who lives next door to the yard where I live tells me that people call dogs “man’s best friend.”

Well, actually, the dog doesn’t so much tell me this as he yells it. Usually while he’s chasing me. Often the dog gets so angry when he sees me that he tries to catch me. I don’t know why he gets angry. I guess some dogs are just highly excitable that way. But when he runs after me, he can only go so far. Then his leash stops him.

I try to point things out to the dog, purely for educational purposes. I live in the school yard, so I am a very well-educated squirrel. I say, “Man’s best friend, huh? You’re tied to a tree. You did notice that, didn’t you? My friends don’t tie me to trees.”

Time and again the dog gets so angry about the life lesson I’ve tried to give that he forgets about his leash. He lunges, he runs out of leash, he bounces back.

Very calmly, not to tease him but only to explain the way things are, I say to the dog, “I think it’s squirrels who are man’s best friend. That’s why the man who lives here ties you up–so you can’t bother me.”

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