Squirreled Away


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

Squirreled Away by Mike Nawrocki is the first book in the “Dead Sea Squirrels” series. When 10-year-old Michael returns from an archaeology trip, he brings home two squirrels that have been preserved in sea salt.

Plot Summary

Dr. Gomez is a college professor involved in an archaeological dig near Israel’s Dead Sea. He brings his son, Michael, and Michael’s friend Justin, for the two-month summer experience. The 10-year-old boys enjoy exploring the desert where many biblical accounts took place. When the kids get lost in a cave and return to camp late, Dr. Gomez grounds them. It is the last night of their trip.

Michael is overwhelmed by curiosity about the cave he and Justin visited. He defies his father and returns to it that night. After finding two petrified squirrels and sticking them in his backpack, Michael drops his flashlight and gets lost. In the morning, Justin discovers Michael is missing. He, Dr. Gomez and some of the workers on the dig return to the cave and find Michael.

Dr. Gomez and the boys hurry to catch their plane home. On the way to the airport, Michael shows Justin the petrified squirrels. Justin is disgusted and urges him to get rid of them before they reach airport security. Somehow, the security scan misses the rodent bodies.

During the flight, one of the stiff squirrels falls from Michael’s suitcase onto a sleeping man’s head. Michael shoves it back in his luggage, but not before noticing a man in a suit and sunglasses watching him. The same man eyes the boys as they meet up with their moms at the airport.

In a flashback to A.D. 70, readers meet married squirrels Merle and Pearl. The two have floated down the Jordan on a homemade raft for a vacation. Since the river only goes one direction, the couple is stuck sweltering in the desert with no way home. They seek shelter in a cave, against Pearl’s better judgement.

Back in present day, Michael’s parents remind him about the importance of obeying them. They ground him for a week for going to the cave without permission. Michael pulls the squirrels out of his backpack and sets them up on his dresser. As he falls asleep, rain begins to fall. Water comes in through his open windows and begins to drip on the dehydrated squirrels. A paw moves ever so slightly as Michael sleeps.

Character profiles and historical information on the Dead Sea scrolls appear in the back of the book.

Christian Beliefs

The text mentions Dr. Gomez was digging in an area where Elijah, Joshua, David and others Bible characters walked. Michael thanks God when Dr. Gomez’s workers find him. Merle and Pearl mention that God, Moses and Paul all commanded honoring one’s father and mother. Michael thanks God for His provision and for the fun trip. Dr. and Mrs. Gomez talk to Michael about the importance of obedience. They remind him the Bible says he should honor his mother and father so that he will live long and life will go well.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Dr. Gomez takes his son and a friend on his archaeological dig because he believes it is a good learning experience. Dr. and Mrs. Gomez use biblical principles to explain why Michael needs to obey them. A mysterious man in a suit and sunglasses watches Michael on the plane.

Profanity & Violence


Sexual Content


Discussion Topics

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

Additional Comments

Author note: The author of this series, Mike Nawrocki, is one of the co-creators of VeggieTales.

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