How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

Hi readers, something a little more childish today but also pretty brilliant. What  I love most about book blogging is that I get the chance to read so many books from so many different genres and I know that someone out there will gain something from me posting my thoughts on it. I’ve felt a little bogged down in reviews the last few days so it’s a little bit of a sigh of relief to relax and get a book a little simpler reviewed for you today.

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‘Such an animal is difficult to tame and always likely, when suddenly alarmed, to give our finger a nasty nip with its teeth.’ While dipping into The Children’s Encyclopaedia of 1910, Axel Scheffler came across a small but indispensible guide to procuring and caring for your pet squirrel. Intrigued by the unlikely notion of a child attempting to keep so wild an animal, Axel created a series of delightful, beautifully finished illustrations to accompany the text.

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I immediately adored this book, not  only are the illustrations utterly wonderful but they are intelligent, charming, clever and a little silly. Although this book is really aimed at adults I think because it is a little tongue-in-cheek a younger Lizzy would have absolutely loved this little book. At the back of the book you see that the inspiration was taken from a children’s encyclopedia written around the early twentieth century when it was perfectly acceptable to keep red squirrels as pets, not the case now I must add. Having said that I think this book would be loved by both audiences because despite it’s slightly mocking nature there is certainly nothing unsuitable for a younger reader.

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The language is simple to read, and the writing moves quickly and I liked that it isn’t patronising which some children’s books can be at times. Having a headteacher of a primary school for a parent means I’ve read a fair few and they can be tedious. I liked the way that each page conveys something one must do to care for a pet squirrel, complete with Axel Scheffler’s idea on how this might look – with a couple of little twists too. Despite being a very short book it manages to get a lot in and be a really enjoyable read. The illustrations are beautiful as to be expected from the illustrator of the much adored The Gruffalo.

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If you need any more persuasion Axel and the publishers, Faber & Faber, are donating money from each copy to red squirrel conservation in the UK which is a lovely added touch. I think this book is perfect as a stocking filler, or as a birthday present for a little one, or treat yourself. It’s a lovely tale and one I’m glad to have read.

5 thoughts on “How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

  1. Dianna says:

    Thank you for including actual pages from inside the book! I am a wildlife squirrel rehabber. Because of your review, I’m going to buy several copies.😉

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