Thursday, 16 June 2011

Furry Fables

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary is a delightful collection of sixteen short stories by David Sedaris. The author and illustrator of the Olivia children’s book series, Ian Falconer, provides brilliant and often creepy illustrations for each story. Despite the furry animals, this is definitely not a book for children.

Each story features different animals with human-like thoughts and mannerisms. They are often potty-mouthed, trash talking, mean creatures with some decidedly bad habits.

My favourites in this collection include “The Vigilant Rabbit” about a group of animals who want to build a gate to their community and the Rabbit appoints himself head of security. I also loved the cautionary tale of “The Mouse and the Snake” about a mouse’s unconditional love for a baby snake despite the knowledge that one day it might kill her.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a cross between Aesop's Fables and Hillare Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children, but without a tidy moral at the end of each story. Subversive, wicked, mean and odd. This was a strange, clever book with moments of laugh-out-loud humour amongst the deeper social commentary.