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Those Darn Squirrels Fly South

Last updated Sunday, January 5, 2014

Author: Adam Rubin
Date of Publication: 2012
ISBN: 0547678231
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2014

Synopsis: Old Man Fookwire's one pleasure in life is painting the birds in his backyard. When fall arrives and the birds fly south, Fookwire is desolate. The squirrels are curious: Where are the birds going, and what do they do once they get there? With their usual ingenuity and engineering skills, the squirrels devise a way to follow the birds to their destination, a tropical paradise.A wonderful time is had by all—all but grumpy Old Man Fookwire, alone at home. But the squirrels have a solution for that, too. Readers will revel in this third off-the-wall comedy featuring Old Man Fookwire, a lot of birds, and those darn squirrels.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where does it look like this story takes place?
•  Do you see squirrels often? Do you like squirrels?
•  Do you think the squirrels can really fly?
•  What other animal would really fly south?

•  grump - angry person
•  scold - to point out a fault
•  endure - to carry on
•  comprehensive - complete
•  aerodynamic engineering - studying the movement and motion of air
•  zeppelin - blimp or balloon
•  turbulence - unsteady movement of air
•  merengue - A ballroom dance of Dominican and Haitian folk origin, characterized by a sliding step.
•  sweltered - To suffer from oppressive heat.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think the man was grumpy? What made him happy by the end of the story?
•  Why do birds fly south for the winter?
•  Why did Fookwire join the squirrels if they annoyed him so much?
•  Why did the squirrels decide to go home with Fookwire?

Craft ideas:
•  Design your own flying machine.
•  Draw some of the exotic birds from the book just like Fookwire did. Use lots of bright colored paper, feathers, tissue paper for the feathers.

Special activities:
•  Count how many different birds are in the book.
•  What noises do the birds make?

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!