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Those Darn Squirrels!



Last updated Monday, January 12, 2015

Author: Adam Rubin
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0547007035
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2015

Synopsis:
Old Man Fookwire is a grump. The only thing he likes to do is paint pictures of the birds that visit his backyard. The problem is, they fly south every winter, leaving him sad and lonely. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful birdfeeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders. The conflict escalates—until the birds depart (as usual), and the squirrels come up with a plan that completely charms the old grump.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Are there any annoying animals that hang around your house? What do you do to keep them away?
•  Have you fed birds before? Was it with a birdfeeder? What do birds like to eat?
•  Is there an animal that you really don't like? Why?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think Mr. Fookwire is such a grump?
•  Why does he like the birds so much?
•  Why does he hate the squirrels?
•  The book talks about how clever the squirrels are. Squirrels build their homes out of trees and beds out of leaves. What else could a squirrel create?

Vocabulary:
•  grump - an irritable or complaining person
•  furious - extremely angry; violent
•  devise - to form a plan
•  veritable - actual, true (often used to stress the appropriateness of a metaphor)
•  fortress - a place of exceptional security; stronghold
•  strategy - a careful plan or method for obtaining a specific goal or result
•  stockpile - a large supply of material (metal, chemical, food, etc.) accumulated for use during a shortage
•  bristles - short, stiff, coarse hairs used to make brushes

Craft ideas:
•  Make an origami bird (see sample). For instructions, visit: http://krokotak.com/2014/03/paper-birds-for-colouring-easy-to-make/.
•  Make a birdfeeder: Glue coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks inside of a box with an open top. Attach yarn to the top and use it to hang your birdfeeder. Remind kids to add seeds and other food for the birds when they get home!

*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!