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SQUIRREL IN THE MUSEUM by Vivian Vande Velde


by Vivian Vande Velde ; illustrated by Steve Bjorkman

Pub Date: March 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4167-9
Publisher: Holiday House

Schoolyard squirrel Twitch has scientific questions but no answers, so he joins a class trip to the Galileo Museum and Science Center.

Stowing away on the school bus is just the first of Twitch’s adventures on this field trip, all breathlessly recounted in a first-person, present-tense narration that exposes his squirrel-centered understanding of the world. Chapter-book readers will both recognize his quirks, including his preoccupation with food, and enjoy a sense of superiority in their wider understanding. For this third title in a series that began with 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷1 Dog = Chaos (2011), the author-illustrator pair have perfected their formula for entertainment—a limited perspective, slapstick humor, and nonstop action. Twitch is protected inside the museum by a white boy who uses a wheelchair, often shown among his racially diverse classmates in Björkman’s amusing sketches. Other images show Twitch atop an astonished girl’s head, scaring her more than the animatronic T. Rex behind her; Twitch wreaking havoc in the museum’s gift shop; driving a model Mars rover; and flying over a Bernoulli air pressure table. Framed by conversations with science lab geckos Galileo and Newton (among the narrators in the first book), these Twitch episodes stand alone but will certainly lead readers and listeners to look for more.

This field trip to remember will appeal to eager chapter-book readers, fans of talking-animal stories, and teachers looking for an engaging read-aloud.

(Fiction. 7-10)