Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is definitely not for children, but it is for the child in all adults. Who among us has not wondered what the family dog, the baboon in the zoo or the pigeon in the park is thinking as he observes the world around him and follows his life's pursuits? Thanks to David Sedaris' humorous collection of modern fables, we can think that we have that insight. This delightfully quirky audio book contains seventeen animal tales read by the author and 3 other talented readers. The human-like behaviors of the animals describe a wide cross-section of society. There's 'The Faithful Setter' who feels he's married beneath him because his wife is not pure bred. There are 'The Migrating Warblers' who winter in Mexico and demonstrate every ugly American cliche imaginable. 'Do you think any of these Spanish-speaking birds would bother to speaking English?' There's 'The Motherless Bear' who uses the death of her mother to get attention and finds herself in an even more pitiable state because of her self-centered behavior. In 'Hello Kitty' a prison-based Alcoholics Anonymous meeting brings naturally antagonistic animal foes together in a touching commentary on addiction and recovery. Part of the charm of this book is that the characters are known simply by their animal names - the Pig, the Mouse, etc. Although their actions are anthropomorphized, the characters remain true to their animal behaviors and any personality traits Sedaris assigns them. The reader is not distracted by thoughts of other 'Susans' or 'Harrys.' An included PDF file of illustrations by Ian Falconcer of Olivia fame adds to the enjoyment of this book.
Human foibles illustrated by animals help us to see the absurdity of behaviors we might otherwise take for granted, accept or overlook in the people around us. Sedaris has an amazing ability to spot shortcomings and ridicule them with his dry wit and evocative prose. As tempting as it might be to share this with children, the language used and the graphic descriptions of bodily functions and violence negate any reason to do so. While adults will find the owl's fascination with leaches living in the Hippopotamus' anus hilarious, it would be confusing and disturbing for children. Several of these tales end with the torture or death of the main characters. That would also be off-putting as children's bedtime listening. As adult entertainment, though, this book is a winner. The brilliant observations of human nature, the clever use of animal traits, the thought-provoking commentaries, the descriptive prose, the humorous dialogue, the delightful illustrations and the expert renditions by the readers make this a must have! This audio book invites revisiting regularly.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
Illustrations by Ian Falconer
Read by David Sedaris, Elaine Stritch, Dylan Baker and Sian Phillips
Hachette Audio, unabridged: 3 hours on 3 CDs