Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
This sequel to Those Darn Squirrels continues the story of the squirrels and Old Man Fookwire. Old Man Fookwire has been waiting for spring when his beloved birds would return. The winter has been long with only the squirrels for company (and trouble). After a pleasant spring morning spent painting birds, Fookwire is shocked to hear kabooms coming from the house next door. Little Old Lady Hu was moving in along with her evil cat, Muffins. She had moved to the country so that Muffins could make some new friends, but Muffins was not a friendly cat at all, as the squirrels were about to find out. This time the squirrels craftiness just might help out Old Man Fookwire too!
Rubin plays with words to great effect here. Not only with the names of Fookwire and Little Old Lady Hu, but with the birds’ names: baba birds, yaba birds and the floogle bird too. Throughout the book, the language is silly and rich, making for a great read aloud. Rubin also has a great feel for pacing, allowing the humor really stand strong and the story to roll along merrily. There is plenty of humor here, including the attacks of Muffins being wedgies, noogies and wet willies.
Salmieri joins in the humor with his illustrations as well. The fine-lined illustrations have a natural silliness to them. Old Man Fookwire has a great red nose, huge glasses, and a body that manages to be skinny and paunchy at once. The squirrels look crafty, bright and foolish all at once.
If you haven’t read the first book, you should, but you will be able to enjoy the second all on its own. Get this into the hands of any kids who enjoy a brains vs. brawns match where the brains win, but you get to giggle at wedgies along the way. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.