Boy Meets Squirrels

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Book Review

Boy Meets Squirrels by Mike Nawrocki, with illustrations by Luke Séguin-Magee follow the life of Michael, a tween who found and smuggled home dried up squirrels near the Dead Sea.

Plot Summary

Michael Gomez and his best friend, Justin, have just returned from a unique adventure. They spent the summer at the Dead Sea with Michael’s dad, a professor of ancient civilizations. Only Justin knows about the two salt-crusted squirrel bodies Michael brought home in his backpack.

Michael savors his first day as elementary school royalty now that he’s in fifth grade. He makes the mistake of bragging to a large fourth grader named Edgar, who is famous for his wedgies. Edgar humiliates Michael and Justin by hanging them from the jungle gym by their underwear. In midair, Michael contemplates revenge.

Later that day, the boys invite their friend Sadie to Michael’s house to show her the squirrels. They’re nowhere to be found, although Michael had propped them up on his dresser the night before. The kids search the house until they hear something moving in a laundry basket. They find the squirrels there, very much alive and speaking English. Merle introduces his wife, Pearl, as the kids stare. The kids and squirrels determine rainwater from the previous night’s downpour must have gotten in the window and rehydrated the squirrels.

Michael takes the squirrels to school in his backpack the next day. They’re fascinated by all the new technology and other items that weren’t around when they became dehydrated. At lunch, Michael tries to get his friends to help him plot revenge against Edgar. Pearl reiterates Sadie’s earlier remark, that revenge is never a good idea.

Merle and Pearl mention the time they heard a great teacher in the Middle East. He told people about ways they could be blessed and how they should treat others as they wished to be treated. Michael isn’t convinced. After the kids return to class, the squirrels fill a garbage bag full of leftovers from the cafeteria.

Michael spends his next class periods developing an elaborate plan to hit Edgar with a bucket of something slimy when the bully exits the school bus. After school, he sees Merle and Pearl’s bag of trash and decides to use it in his scheme. As he’s setting up his trap, a second grader passes by. Michael brags about his plan to slime Edgar, and the boy notes that Michael must be Edgar’s bully. The words sting and make Michael realize he doesn’t want to be anyone’s bully. At the last moment, he tries to stop the slime from falling on Edgar. It lands on him instead, and Edgar and his friends roar with laughter.

Michael’s friends, including the squirrels, are proud of him for choosing not to bully Edgar. The three kids stand up to Edgar and say no one is going to bully anyone anymore. Edgar backs down.

Sadie notices the squirrels’ words about how to treat others come from the Bible. Merle faints when he realizes that means they were stuck in a cave for 2,000 years.

Christian Beliefs

The squirrels report having heard a great teacher speak on ways to be blessed and how to treat others. Sadie later recognizes they’re referring to Jesus’ sermon found in the Bible. Cartoon pictures show the squirrels watching from a tree as a robed, bearded teacher speaks to a crowd in Middle Eastern clothing.

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Merle and Pearl were moved by the authoritative speaking of a teacher they heard 2,000 years earlier.

Profanity & Violence

None

Sexual Content

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments

Additional information: Character profiles and historical facts on the Dead Sea Scrolls appear in the back of the book.

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