Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary


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Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316038393
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/28/2010
Pages: 159
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's This American Life. He is the author of the books When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Barrel Fever.


London, England

Date of Birth:

December 26, 1956

Place of Birth:

Johnson City, New York


B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1987

Read an Excerpt

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

A Modest Bestiary
By Sedaris, David

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2010 Sedaris, David
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316038393

The Cat and the Baboon

The cat had a party to attend, and went to the baboon to get herself groomed.

“What kind of party?” the baboon asked, and she massaged the cat’s neck in order to relax her, the way she did with all her customers. “Hope it’s not that harvest dance down on the riverbank. My sister went last year and said she’d never seen such rowdiness. Said a fight broke out between two possums, and one gal, the wife of one or the other, got pushed onto a stump and knocked out four teeth. And they were pretty ones too, none of this yellowness you find on most things that eat trash.”

The cat shuddered. “No,” she said. “This is just a little get-together, a few friends. That type of thing.”

“Will there be food?” the baboon asked.

“Something,” the cat sighed. “I just don’t know what.”

“ ‘Course it’s hard,” the baboon said. “Everybody eating different things. You got one who likes leaves and another who can’t stand the sight of them. Folks have gotten so picky nowadays, I just lay out some peanuts and figure they either eat them or they don’t.”

“Now, I wouldn’t like a peanut,” the cat said. “Not at all.”

“Well, I guess you’d just have drinks, then. The trick is knowing when to stop.”

“That’s never been a problem for me,” the cat boasted. “I drink until I’m full, and then I push myself away from the table. Always have.”

“Well, you’ve got sense, then. Not like some of them around here.” The baboon picked a flea from the cat’s head and stuck it gingerly between her teeth. “Take this wedding I went to—last Saturday, I think it was. Couple of marsh rabbits got married—you probably heard about it.”

The cat nodded.

“Now, I like a church service, but this was one of those write-your-own-vows sorts of things. Neither of them had ever picked up a pen in their life, but all of a sudden they’re poets, right, like that’s all it takes—being in love.”

“My husband and I wrote our own vows,” the cat said defensively.

“Sure you did,” countered the baboon, “but you probably had something to say, not like these marsh rabbits, carrying on that their love was like a tender sapling or some damn thing. And all the while they had this squirrel off to the side, plucking at a harp, I think it was.”

“I had a harp player at my wedding,” the cat said, “and it was lovely.”

“I bet it was, but you probably hired a professional, someone who could really play. This squirrel, I don’t think she’d taken a lesson in her life. Just clawed at those strings, almost like she was mad at them.”

“Well, I’m sure she tried her best,” the cat said.

The baboon nodded and smiled, the way one must in the service industry. She’d planned to tell a story about a drunken marsh rabbit, the brother of the groom at last week’s wedding, but there was no point in it now, not with this client anyway. Whatever she said, the cat disagreed with, and unless she found a patch of common ground she was sure to lose her tip. “You know,” she said, cleaning a scab off the cat’s neck, “I hate dogs. Simply cannot stand them.”

“What makes you bring that up?” the cat asked.

“Just thinking,” the baboon said. “Some kind of spaniel mix walked in yesterday, asking for a shampoo, and I sent him packing, said, ‘I don’t care how much money you have, I’m not making conversation with anyone who licks his own ass.’ ” And the moment she said it, she realized her mistake.

“Now, what’s wrong with that?” the cat protested. “It’s good to have a clean anus. Why, I lick mine at least five times a day.”

“And I admire you for it,” the baboon said, “but you’re not a dog.”


“On a cat it’s… classy,” the baboon said. “There’s a grace to it, but a dog, you know the way they hunker over, legs going every which way.”

“Well, yes,” the cat said. “I suppose you have a point.”

“Then they slobber and drool all over everything, and what they don’t get wet, they chew to pieces.”

“That they do.” The cat chuckled, and the baboon relaxed and searched her memory for a slanderous dog story. The collie, the German shepherd, the spaniel mix she claimed to have turned away: they were all good friends of hers, and faithful clients, but what would it hurt to pretend otherwise and cross that fine line between licking ass and simply kissing it?


Excerpted from Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Sedaris, David Copyright © 2010 by Sedaris, David. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 578 reviews.
Seredetia More than 1 year ago
This was an exceptionally short read (84 or so pages), and, quite frankly, overpriced. While the stories were interesting, they were all quite morbid. Perhaps I just didn't get it, but it is not something I would necessarily recommend. This should be offered as a "buy a real book, get this fairy tale free." It was something that I read in less than an hour.
Phyllie More than 1 year ago
Been a fan of Sedaris for a long time, but this book is stomach turning at times. NOT FUNNY! Maybe I don't get it, but I wish I could return it.
skimSC More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Sedaris' work for years. What most impressed me in the past was his skill at conveying myriad human experience with wit and compassion. I think his most recent works, this book included, lack these qualities. I used to laugh out loud while reading his works and now I sometimes cringe.
Vikinglover80 More than 1 year ago
The previous essays of David Sedaris have set a high expectation for what we, as readers, can expect from him. Until now, his books have all been exporations of the human condition by analysis of his childhood and adult life, his family and friends, and his difficulties learning the languages of French and love. They have been both entertaining and profound. In his new series of essay David Sedaris takes our expectations and turns them on thier heads...sort of. I read a number of review of this book before I ultimately decided to purchase it. To my surprise most of them were fairly negative and critical. The one thing these reviews had in common was that this book was a major departure from his musings on Homo Sapiens. I think that, in this day and age, for an artist to depart from what made him/her popular is a rarity that is to be applauded. Does this book lack some of the charm that makes it easy to identify with Sedaris's earlier works? Yes, but it also shows Seadaris's willingness to challenge himself as a writer. It is evident reading these stories that David Sedaris has thought very deeply on the ways animals live, and their relationships to other members of the animal kingdom. What I found most interesting was the profound messages he puts into these stories. Everything from how marriage works through the eyes of a faithful dog, to the inability to cope with loss and the repercussions thereof in the experience of a baby bear cub, and the extremes of parental honesty and its effects as shown by two pelican sisters. Every story in this book has a nugget of wisdom, or something to chew on. They are not all funny, and some of them have some very graphic descriptions...but hey, that's life. Bravo Mr. Sedaris!
JodiJoJJ More than 1 year ago
Do not spend the money. This is very simplistic and a waste of time.
SanDiegoScotty More than 1 year ago
David Sedaris can make even the most horrific family situation laughable, so why did he go down this incredibly dark path in this book. Yes, it is about animals, but the are there only to mirror some of humanity's worst faults and foibles. I read as far as the story where the crow plucks out and eats the eyes of a baby lamb before quitting. Sorry, David......I love you--have read all your books and seen you at two readings, but this is a huge disappointment.
TGTG More than 1 year ago
I need to learn to take advantage of the "review" before I order a book. This book was really quite ridiculous. I'm glad it was only 82 pages long because I couldn't wait to finish it (I believe in finishing what I begin), and get it archived so I wouldn't have to look at it again!!!
Kimberly_Book_Addict More than 1 year ago
David Sedaris, well-known for his satirical writing style, is back with a "modest bestiary." Bestiary tales, for those unfamiliar with the term, are moral fables usually told about animals or mythical creatures. Sedaris uses a huge array of all different animals to tell some of the funniest moral tales I've ever read. The book is chock full of these fantastically funny tales: a squirrel who dates a chipmunk, a mouse who thinks a snake is her baby, a grooming baboon, storytelling warblers, rats that live in a lab, storks learning the ropes of parenting and much much more!! One of the most awesome things about this book was that even in its childlike style, it tackles some larger issues. For example, one of the stories is about a female chipmunk who dates a male squirrel. The chipmunk's family does not agree with the relationship because they are different species. They force her to break up with him, but over the course of her lifetime she always thinks back on him. Some people won't read beyond the simple humor in the story, but deeper thinkers can see this as possibly representing a bi-racial relationship. Lots of the stories are like the squirrel and chipmunk story: on the surface they're fun and humourous tales, but deep down they do have a moral and deeper meaning. Having an adult write a book of morals for adults with a humorous slant is absolutely genius. It takes the problems/issues we face as adults and shows us how to do the right thing, much like how we learned morals in our childhoods. I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the fabulous illustrations by Ian Falconer. Falconer is most known for the Olivia series he created, wrote, and illustrated. While Sedaris' writing can definitely stand alone, it is Ian Falconer's illustrations that truly take the book to the next level. The drawings are just as humorous and twisted as the stories themselves. Sedaris and Falconer are a match made in literary history. If you have never read a David Sedaris book then I would definitely suggest this one as your first. You will not be disappointed in his writing style at all. The book is a quick, fast-paced read that you won't be able to put down. Definitely give it a shot! Kimberly (Reflections of a Book Addict)
satchel More than 1 year ago
Against my better judgement, I read the whole book in hopes of finding a redeeming quality. There isn't one. The stories are twisted, pointless and most end abruptly. Not to mention poorly written. As a David Sedaris fan, I was very disappointed.
Ray Black More than 1 year ago
My only gripe is that it's too short. I loved it though
Maria Ruiz More than 1 year ago
If you're into the dark and morbid satire, then this book is for you. Enjoyed the short stories.
Carmel_Dreamin More than 1 year ago
this was a very good book. like a modern day Aesop Fabkes
Lynn Hendershot More than 1 year ago
Ever the sick and twisted, but hilarious, writer of daily observations, Sedaris has done it again! The stories in this little collection are funny, charming, and create wonderful mental pictures of what life would be like in a humanized animal kingdom. I'll never look at my pets the same way again. The only drawback is that the book is so short. Keep the stories coming David ... we could all use a good laugh in these troubled times.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting take on animal personification, told in a fable-esque type of short story vignettes. David Sedaris can be really funny, but can also be so in a crude sort of way. Some of these fables ended rather morbidly, but hey -- so goes the life of the animal world. This was good on audio -- a varied cast of readers, but I thought Elaine Stritch & David himself were the best. My favorite track? The Judicious Brown Chicken, although after reading other reviews, it seems everyone has a different favorite. But that one had me laughing out loud several times.
agarrisongirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Often hilarious, but too disgusting and gross for my taste. The four readers are good, especially David Sedaris and Elaine Stritch.
LKool98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Strange yet interesting twists on interactions between human written from the perspective of animals
alchemistmay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Currently reading "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"
maritimer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you prefer your cleverness with a generous helping of snide, these tales are for you.  The last story is a welcome exception: an owl, a hippo, and a gerbil come together to perform a singularly inspired piece of business.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting collection of short stories -- fables, really -- told from animal viewpoints. The animals have all-too-human foibles, which help point out how ridiculous we can be. For example a stork tells her child that babies are brought by mice. The stories are humorous and telling...but a bit to gruesome for my taste. This version of the book has really gorgeous illustrations.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short story collection is the first bit of fiction I¿ve ever read from Sedaris. Most of his books chronicle his personal experiences, growing up, living in NYC or in Paris and his interactions with his family. I¿ve always found those hilarious. This book goes in a completely different direction and tells fables of animals set in human environments. Sedaris imbues the animals with human characteristics. They are selfish, petty, suspicious etc. and put in situations that bring out the worst in them, Secret Santa gift exchanges, pet ownership, a pot-bellied pig who is self-conscious about his weight, etc. The satire manages to feel fresh and odd at the same time. The dark sense of humor that Sedaris is loved for is in full-force, but in a much stranger setting. It¿s almost as if this concept was better in theory than when put into action. One funny story, The Faithful Setter, chronicles a dog¿s marriage and his moral debate of whether it¿s cheating when his owner takes him to breed with other females. Again, weird, but it¿s oddly amusing to hear a dog describe his wife¿s nature and bad ¿breeding.¿ I think my favorite story may have been, The Vigilant Rabbit, which is about a mall cop kind of rabbit, who guards the forest and takes his job way too seriously. It includes the following¿ ¿State your name and your business.¿¿I¿m unicorn,¿ said the unicorn. ¿And I come to bring joy to all the forest creatures.¿ ¿Not with that horn you don¿t.¿¿I beg your pardon?¿ ¿I said, lose the weapon.¿I can¿t say I liked this book more than some of his other memoirs, but it was still entertaining. I definitely prefer his personal memoirs, but this one is worth checking out if you¿re already a fan.
Milda-TX on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny in a really cringe-producing kind of way.
janegca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up after listening to Sedaris' read an excerpt from his "Santaland Diaries" on NPR; it was not what I expected. The "Santaland Diaries" had me in stitches, "squirrel seeks chipmunk" had me cringing. Given the animal theme I expected satire; what I didn't expect was unrelenting caustic, biting, humorless satire. Sedaris' insightful depictions of the rationales we employ to justify our worst behaviours were accurate to a fault, and totally lacking in empathy.
WeaselOfDoom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have not read anything by David Sedaris before, but have heard that his writing is very funny. So perhaps I had wrong expectations when I found ¿Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk¿ in the library and decided to give it a try.The book is a collection of fables, with animals doing cruel, stupid, and pathetic things that humans do. There is a mouse blinded by unconditional love, self-involved storks, selfish bear, holier-than-though lab rat. Unfortunately, Sedaris is no Aesop. He bludgeons the reader with the message of how bad human beings are ¿ no subtlety there, and very little humor or hope.I will try other books by David Sedaris, but this one was too misanthropic for my taste.
karenrose1985 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Horribly negative and mean. Grotesque and inhumane. I couldn't even finish this book.
dempsey1106 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read several of David Sedaris's books before. This one is similar in style, but, if you ask me, doesn't quite hit the nail on the head. You will find some stories to be humorous and witty. Others, you will find to be just, well, not quite up to par. It seemed to me that he was out of his realm when he ventured into animal stories. I can see the social commentary that Sedaris is famous for, but it just didn't entertain the way I thought it would. I still enjoyed the book, but didn't feel like it was his best work.