Check It Out: ‘Those Darn Squirrels’ make a friend in book



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"Those Darn Squirrels!"

By Adam Rubin; Clarion Books, 32 pages

“Those Darn Squirrels!”

By Adam Rubin; Clarion Books, 32 pages

So, the other day I was watching a couple of squirrels eating sunflower seeds from our John Deere bird feeder (yes, it’s green and yellow), and I just had to laugh.

No sooner do I fill the feeder than these chattering, bushy-tailed rodents run down from their tree-top perch, climb up the pole, and gorge themselves on food intended for my feathered friends. But instead of getting mad at them, I usually find myself laughing at their hijinks. Nothing is more determined than a hungry squirrel.Watching the squirrels reminded me of one of my favorite picture books, “Those Darn Squirrels!” by Adam Rubin. While I may be amused by squirrel antics, Old Man Fookwire, the story’s protagonist, is not. In fact, he hates squirrels — along with pie and puppies. He’s also so old that dust comes out of his nose when he sneezes.

The only thing he likes is birds. It doesn’t matter if it’s a whirley bird, a bonga bird, or a floogle bird: he likes them all. One autumn he decides to feed the birds so that they will stick around a little longer before flying south for the winter.

Brilliant idea! Until the darn squirrels show up and start eating all the bird food. Curses!

Old Man Fookwire won’t take this sitting down, no sir. But, just when it looks like Fookwire has won the birdfeeder battle with his home-built, Rube-Goldberg style squirrel defense system, the birds decide to head south anyway, leaving Fookwire all alone for another winter.

Now some of us know that squirrels are really smart, but Fookwire’s squirrels are more than just “fuzzy little geniuses”: they’re also astute observers of the human condition. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that Old Man Fookwire is feeling very lonely without his bird friends, so they devise a plan to cheer him up.

With a dash of ingenuity and a whole lot of squirrel-heart, Fookwire’s fuzzy visitors show a grumpy old man how birds of a different feather can be good company, too.

To learn how the squirrels make Old Man Fookwire smile, be sure to squirrel away some time to read this charmer of a picture book. It turns out that squirrels do the darnedest things!

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at