Squirrelnapped! — “Dead Sea Squirrels” Series

Squirrelnapped cover

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Book Review

Squirrelnapped! by Mike Nawrocki, with illustrations by Luke Séguin-Magee is about how Michael tries to keep two squirrels he brought home from the Dead Sea from becoming black-market artifacts. It is the fourth book in the “Dead Sea Squirrels” series.

Plot Summary

Michael Gomez and his best friend, Justin, spent the summer at the Dead Sea with Michael’s dad, a professor of ancient civilizations. Michael smuggled two salt-crusted squirrel bodies home in his backpack. When rain hit them, they rehydrated and came to life. Michael, Justin and their friend Sadie have tried to hide married, 2,000-year-old squirrels Merle and Pearl from Michael’s family. At the end of the previous book, *Nutty Study Buddies*, Michael’s mom saw Michael dancing with the squirrels in his room. Michael has also seen a man in a suit and sunglasses following him.

As this book begins, Mrs. Gomez confronts her son about the squirrels and demands an explanation. He and the squirrels tell her everything, and she insists they tell Dr. Gomez by the following night. The next day is Saturday. Dad has to work, and Mom has taken Michael’s little sister, Jane, to a birthday party.

Michael decides to show the squirrels how to juggle a soccer ball. He knows he’s forbidden to do it in the house, but he thinks it will be fine since everyone is gone. The ball hits Mom’s Vietnamese elephant lamp table and breaks it into hundreds of pieces. Rather than come clean about what he’s done, Michael decides to glue it back together.

Mom and Jane return. Before Mom has a chance to see Michael’s poorly-glued reconstruction, Jane sets her cupcake on the elephant table, and it collapses. Mom sees the soccer ball nearby and punishes Jane for playing with it in the house. As Michael and the squirrels watch, Pearl urges Michael to tell the truth. Michael isn’t sure what to do. Part of him likes the idea of his sister taking the blame for his mistake.

Pearl talks about the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, in which he urged them to be honest and stop telling lies. Michael feels guilty but tries to justify his actions. When Justin and Sadie invite him to go play soccer, he’s eager for a chance to get out of the house and distract himself.

While the kids and squirrels are at the park, the man in the suit and sunglasses traps Pearl in a cage. Merle dives into Michael’s backpack, and the kids chase the man’s Toyota until they can no longer keep up. Defeated, they return to Michael’s house.

Mrs. Gomez decides they’ll need to tell Dr. Gomez everything right away, so they pile into the car and head to his office. Dr. Gomez faints when he meets Michael’s talking squirrel. When he wakes up, he chides Michael for his dishonesty. He points out he might have been able to help protect the squirrels if he’d known about the man in the suit sooner.

Using the Toyota’s license plate number, they discover the car is a rental from the airport. The group piles in the car again. They find the Toyota in a hotel parking lot and hide in the lobby. The man comes to the lobby.

From the man’s phone conversation in Hebrew, Dr. Gomez can tell he’s working for a tomb raider, a person who steals ancient artifacts. Dr. Gomez keeps an eye on the man while the others split up to search the hotel for Pearl. The man goes to his room. Just as Merle finds a cracked window and enters the man’s room, Michael pushes in with a cleaning cart. The squirrels wrap the man’s head with a dirty sheet, and everyone escapes the hotel.

Back at the Gomez house, the squirrels rave about the new home Mrs. Gomez has built them using hamster items. Michael apologizes for not telling Dad about them and comes clean about breaking the elephant table. He’s grounded for his dishonesty, and Dr. Gomez ponders how they can best protect the squirrels. No one notices the Toyota driving slowly down their street.

Christian Beliefs

Pearl tells Michael about the apostle Paul’s time in prison and the letters he wrote to the Ephesians from his cell. She emphasizes how Paul urged the Ephesians to stop telling lies and be honest with each other as parts of one body. She notes that when members of God’s family tell each other the truth, they can count on one another. And then non-believers can see God’s power at work in the lives of people.

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Michael’s mom creates a house for the squirrels. She gives Michael a little time, but insists he be honest with his dad about Merle and Pearl. Dad faints at the sight of the squirrels, and then springs into action to help them. He scolds and grounds Michael for keeping secrets and being dishonest.

Profanity & Violence

A squirrel is kidnapped. The squirrels wrap the kidnapper’s head with a dirty sheet so everyone can escape the hotel.

Sexual Content

None

Discussion Topics

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

Additional Comments

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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