How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

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How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

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Category: Humour
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A splendid gift book for adults, or children capable of understanding irony, about how we used to view wild animals.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571255986

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So, how do you keep a pet squirrel? Well, the simple answer is that you don't. They're wild animals and not at all suitable for keeping in captivity, but accepted thinking didn't always run that way. It was whilst he was dipping into The Children's Encyclopaedia of 1910 that Axel Scheffler came across a small but indispensible guide to obtaining and caring for your pet squirrel. His inventive mind came up with these beautiful illustrations to accompany the text and if you're looking for an amusing gift for an animal-loving adult then this book could well be the answer.

The squirrel, we are told, makes an attractive and interesting pet, but you have a greater chance of success if your squirrel is young and preferably born in captivity on the basis that it's unkind to capture an animal which has been in the wild and knows what the freedom of the woods is like. There was some sense there, then! Mind you – it wasn't all altruism. The animal which was used to the wild has a nasty tendency to bite fingers – some might think quite understandably. There was some understanding of the needs of the animal – with stress on the fact that it's cruel to keep the squirrel in a small cage or in one which consists entirely of a revolving wheel. That's not to say that the revolving wheel doesn't have its uses, as it does help the animal to keep fit.

Axel Scheffler you'll be thinking, having now become bored with the problems of keeping a squirrel, isn't he the bloke who does those wonderful illustrations for children's books? Everyone knows about The Gruffalo, but there are quite a few other treasures too. There's Room on the Broom and Stick Man to name just a couple. They're packed with deceptively simple illustrations which pack a real punch and the same goes for How to Keep a Pet Squirrel

There's a wonderful picture of our red squirrel (as they all were in those days) ready to move into his new home, complete with exercise wheel, tree branch and sleeping quarters. Squirrel has a suitcase in each hand and looks just about as excited as you can when you're scared stiff. How do they keep clean, you might wonder? Well our squirrel carefully washes his feet in a metal bucket, with the help of a sponge.

It's not a book for children until they're of an age when they can understand irony, but an animal-loving adult with a sense of humour will love it. There's a gentle message about not trying to keep wild animals as pets, but it's delivered with a light and gentle touch. The icing on the cake is that for every book sold the publishers will make a donation to Save Our Squirrels which will help with the conservation work being carried out by the charity.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For more gentle humour with animals you might enjoy Man + Dog by Nick Wadley, Will Work for Nuts by Matthew Cole and I Can Has Cheezburger by Eric Nakagawa

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Buy How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler at


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