Title: Squirrels in the SchoolAnimal ARk #17 - Squirrel in the School
Author: Ben M. Baglio
Illustrator: Shelagh McNicholas
Pages: 134
Reading Level: 7-10
Star Rating:

Found this at a random thrift store while traveling…

The Story.

Mandy and James are working non-stop to help make the play their school is throwing a success. James is in charge of the lighting and Mandy is in charge of the jewelry and headpieces – and finally after weeks of work, Mandy’s part is complete! Now she can relax.

But then, only a week before the play, Mandy arrives in the costume department to find her handiwork destroyed! At first she thinks that an enemy must be pranking her, but then she realizes that it was destroyed by a family of squirrels living in the school’s ventilation system.

Can Mandy find a way to protect her work from the squirrels and the squirrels from the school janitor?

Discussion.

The Animal Ark stories vary in intensity – sometimes they’re just cute stories about animals, but other times they’re practical manifestos. Squirrel in the School, unfortunately, was one of the latter.

Upon discovering that it was squirrels who destroyed her work, Mandy instantly forgives them and sets about trying to hide their tracks. It isn’t until they’ve eaten her second set of jewelry and chewed through an ELECTRIC CABLE that she finally admits their presence. Which is when the principal very sensibly decides that they have to go.

The thing that befuddles me is the extremity of emotion assigned to both sides of the argument. Mandy is ADAMANT that THE SQUIRRELS ARE INNOCENT and that to view them as pests is UNFORGIVEABLE. Mr. Browning, the school janitor, INSISTS that they be poisoned WITHIN THE DAY with great amounts of PERSONAL FEROCITY. When Mandy and James succeed in catching the squirrels and bringing them to a new home, Mr. Browning is enraged because he was SO EXCITED about POISONING THEM.

I mean, seriously? No one gets that excited about killing a couple of rodents.

: |

‘Heck’ and ‘darn’ are each used once.

Conclusion. One of the more annoying Animal Ark stories. Read Dog at the Door instead.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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