Thursday, May 5, 2011


Brian Wildsmith ~ Oxford University Press, 1974

I'd always get tickled watching tourists foreign tourists in NYC taking pictures of squirrels, as if they were some magical creature of legend. When really, here in the U.S., they are everywhere. Albiet cute and curious, they are often times more pest than pet. That said, I've rescued many a squirrel in my life. From babies fallen from trees to full-grown (probably rabid) adults staggering in Central Park. No one can resist a squirrel, no matter how unsanitary or troublesome they may be. It would take a lifetime to understand everything about this all-too-common yet mysterious creature, but here, Brian Wildsmith sums them up in a few pages... a few pages filled with his signature color and vibrancy.

It is easy to recognize a squirrel. He is a furry, small animal with a long, bushy tail, two strong back legs, two small front paws, two large tufted ears which stick up, and two big front teeth. He looks happy and mischievous.

From where squirrels live (in trees BTW) to the many uses of its tail to how they store food for the winter, this endearing book will have you wishing you had one as a pet.... though I wouldn't recommend it. Many a squirrel pet story has ended in tragedy. My neighbor whose pet squirrel was electrocuted while eating the cord on her stove... my mother who was crestfallen as a small girl when her pet squirrel returned to the wild. The adorable pets my husband and I allowed to live in our attic until they tore up all our installation. Falling in love with a squirrel is sure to end in heartbreak, so why don'y you just look at these pictures and squeal, instead.

Good enough?

Also by:
A Child's Garden of Verses
Professor Noah's Spaceship
Maurice Maeterlinck's Blue Bird
Brian Wildsmith's Birds
The Hare and the Tortoise


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Anonymous said...

You shouldn't keep squirrels because it is illegal, and it is illegal because it is harmful to the squirrel. If you find an injured or orphaned squirrel, you should contact your local wildlife rehabilitator, and they'll know what to do.

Kate & Simon said...

Strange coincidence - I was inspired to Google Wildsmith after finding his lion and mouse book in a thrift store. The squirrel book was the one that caught my eye in the search results. Will now hunt for a copy for us. His illustrations are stunning. Thanks for the post.

Burgin Streetman said...

Anon... oh yes, there's that, too! :) I forget, as my mother is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in the state of virginia, now, so there are always creatures at her house. she even has a license to care for injured and orphaned migratory birds and birds of prey... and the time I found the injured baby, I took it straight to a licensed clinic, so no fear!

daysease said...

Ever since you posted about this book, I have come back over and over to look at that cover. I am currently trying to plan a surprise squirrel birthday party for my third son because he has loved these animals for the last few years. He has asked for two years to have a squirrel party, and this is hte year. I am on the lookout for one, resonably priced. Any ideas?? problem is... I live in Italy. sigh... postage, I know. Would welcome any advice you can give on this... It is truly a shame that I have just come to realize how much I love Brian Wildsmith's work. Wow. Thanks for maintaining this blog. I LOVE your new header, and am always so glad to see what else you have to share. :-)

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