Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door

Overview

All is calm in old man Fookwire’s yard until new neighbors—Little Old Lady Hu and her cat, Muffins—move in next door. Muffins is one mean dude! He terrorizes the birds, interrupts Fookwire’s painting, and ties the squirrels’ tails together. Fookwire is upset, but not nearly as upset as the squirrels, who devise an ingenious plan to stop Muffins cold. In this hilarious follow-up to Those Darn Squirrels!, the tongue-in-cheek text is perfectly complemented by the quirky, inventive ...

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Overview

All is calm in old man Fookwire’s yard until new neighbors—Little Old Lady Hu and her cat, Muffins—move in next door. Muffins is one mean dude! He terrorizes the birds, interrupts Fookwire’s painting, and ties the squirrels’ tails together. Fookwire is upset, but not nearly as upset as the squirrels, who devise an ingenious plan to stop Muffins cold. In this hilarious follow-up to Those Darn Squirrels!, the tongue-in-cheek text is perfectly complemented by the quirky, inventive illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Having already proved they're ideally matched in their debut, Those Darn Squirrels! (2008), Rubin and Salmieri go for two—and succeed. This time, Mr. Fookwire, his beloved backyard birds, and his relentlessly clever squirrel frenemies are united against a new neighbor and common enemy: a corpulent, take-no-prisoners cat named Muffins, whose idea of fun is giving the squirrels noogies, wet willies, and wedgies—and the last, readers are reminded, is "not an easy thing to do, because generally squirrels do not wear underpants." But before Muffins can show what he has in mind for the birds (who seem utterly clueless despite their curvilinear grace), the squirrels summon their ingenuity (their idea of brain food is cheese puffs and ginger ale) and concoct a revenge scheme that has Muffins retreating indoors permanently, thus insinuating themselves into Mr. Fookwire's grumpy affections once more. Rubin's sly ironies and Salmieri's spare but deeply goofy aesthetic is child-friendly urbanity at its best. And those squirrels! Impish, beady-eyed, and never individuated, they steal the spotlight in every scene. Ages 5–8. (May)
From the Publisher
"Rubin's sly ironies and Salmieri's spare but deeply goofy aesthetic is child-friendly urbanity at its best. And those squirrels! Impish, beady-eyed, and never individuated, they steal the spotlight in every scene."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—In this funny follow-up to Those Darn Squirrels (Clarion, 2008), Grumpy Old Man Fookwire is not only beleaguered by crafty squirrels, but he also has to contend with new neighbors. Little Old Lady Hu's cat, Muffins, is "a real jerk" who terrifies Fookwire's beloved birds and gives the squirrels "wedgies." While Fookwire writes a letter of complaint to the mayor, the squirrels hatch a plan. Muffins gets his comeuppance when he walks into a booby trap and is doused with a gallon of water. Underneath all his fluffy bluster, the cat is revealed to be "nothing but a skinnymalink." Salmieri's droll watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations capture the eccentric cast of characters, from the bald, beakish Fookwire painting pictures of birds "till he got blisters on his fingers" to the merry band of squirrels dropping in through Fookwire's mail slot to finish his crossword puzzles. A quirky read-aloud choice.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews

Squirrels, watch out; there's a new cat in town. These pesky rodents perpetually annoy ornery Old Man Fookwire, shooting through his mail slot and finishing his crossword puzzles. The cunning critters lose their mischievous edge when Little Old Lady Hu moves in next door, though. Her delectable desserts are no compensation for the vicious pet she brings into the neighborhood. She's adamant that her "cuddly honey bunny" Muffins wouldn't harm a fly, but this antagonistic feline is far from kind. His outrageous tactics win him numero uno status among the resident animals; he's even successful in administering wedgies to the mortified squirrels. Fed up with the harassment, the victimized critters form an alliance to thwart this backyard bully. The droll narrative shines in its details. Quirky expressions depict outrage and delight ("Great googley-moogley!"); trenchant language captures personality (Muffins "was a real jerk"). Salmieri's illustrations provide the perfect counterpoint. The treacherous housecat's mannerisms resemble a feline Dr. Evil; his cunning smile and crossed legs exude a delightfully awful menace. Watercolor, gouache and colored pencil spreads provide a light background for each comic interaction. This sassy sequel to Those Darn Squirrels! (2008) lets readers feel the thrill of putting bullies in their place. Great googley-moogley, indeed. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547429229
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/2/2011
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 141,000
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Rubin is a creative director for a digital advertising agency in New York City and the author of six critically acclaimed picture books, including three Those Darn Squirrels titles. All of them have been illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. To learn more, visit www.adamrubinhasawebsite.com .

Daniel Salmieri is an artist and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. He has illustrated eight books for children, including six critically acclaimed picture books in collaboration with author Adam Rubin. To learn more, visit www.danielsalmieri.com .

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