Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris; Illustrated by Ian Falconer

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Title: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk- A Modest Bestiary

Author: David Sedaris

Illustrator: Ian Falconer

Genre: Short Stories

Number of Pages: 159

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes



    Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is the first book I’ve read by David Sedaris, I have several essay collections by him on my personal bookshelves but I decided to start with something a little bit shorter. I knew this wasn’t a book for kids, but because of how famous and successful Sedaris is for his humorous writing, I was a little bit surprised by how disturbing this was. I mean, I got a chuckle here and there but the main thing that struck me about it was it’s cynicism and general creepiness. Although Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is entirely comprised of stories about anthropomorphic animals (all morality tales, loosely along the lines of Aesop’s Fables) it gave me strong feeling that it’s author isn’t all that crazy about his fellow man.


There’s something novel about humankind’s cruelty and hypocrisy projected onto a cast of animal characters, and I quickly realized that most of the squirrels, bears, mice, etc. were not characters that were easy to like or root for. I was also surprised that the illustrator had also done the art for the ‘Olivia’ picture book series, because some of his illustrations in this were the stuff of nightmares. As for the stories themselves, they were sometimes a little bit hit or miss, but overall I enjoyed their combination of misanthropy and irony.


Two of my favorites were ‘The Mouse and the Snake’ (which was mostly predictable, but packed a punch and concluded with a deliciously vicious serving of karma) and ‘The Faithful Setter.’ On the other hand, ‘The Motherless Bear’ and ‘The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat’ stood out to me as the two most disturbing stories, but they were also very well-done. Overall this book doesn’t rank among my favorites of this year, but it’s also totally unlike anything I’d ever read before and has made me interested in reading some more of this author’s books.

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