Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
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First edition cover
|Cover artist||Ian Falconer|
|Genre||Essay collection, Fiction|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
|September 28, 2010|
|Media type||Print (hardcover), audiobook|
|Pages||176 pp (first edition, hardcover)|
|Preceded by||When You Are Engulfed in Flames|
|Followed by||Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls|
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (titled[clarification needed] Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary outside the United States) is a collection of animal-themed humorous short stories by memoirist and humorist David Sedaris. The collection was published in September 2010.
Sedaris did not give the animals names, using only such names as 'chipmunk' and 'squirrel.' Animals, he said, don't need description. Sedaris said in an October 2010 interview with The Washington Post, "If I wrote, 'Phillip and Amanda had been dating for two weeks when they ran out of things to talk about', I would have to give you a whole description. But, everyone knows what a squirrel and a chipmunk look like. So, I wrote it as, 'The squirrel and the chipmunk had been dating for two weeks when they ran out of things to talk about.'"
Sedaris was inspired after reading a book of stories from South African mythology about anthropomorphic animals. Believing he could do better with a modern twist, he wrote 25 stories over two years, with the aim to ensure a high quality book by cutting ten of the 25.
- "The Cat and the Baboon"
- "The Migrating Warblers"
- "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk"[a]
- "The Toad, The Turtle, and the Duck"
- "The Motherless Bear"[b]
- "The Mouse and the Snake"
- "The Parenting Storks"
- "The Faithful Setter"
- "The Crow and the Lamb"
- "The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat"[c]
- "The Cow and the Turkey"
- "The Vigilant Rabbit"
- "The Judicious Brown Chicken"
- "The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig"
- "Hello Kitty"
- "The Grieving Owl"
Sedaris says that title character of "The Vigilant Rabbit" is based on an elderly TSA official who demanded that he remove his vest.
At least six of the stories have been read on This American Life (a US radio program to which Sedaris has been a frequent contributor): "The Cat and the Baboon", a fable about gossip and the service industry, was in episode 288, "That's Not What I Meant", on May 6, 2005; "The Cow and the Turkey", in which barnyard animals play Secret Santa, was in episode 305, "The This American Life Holiday Spectacular", on December 23, 2005. (The episode was repeated on December 26, 2010.) "Hello Kitty", in which predators and prey meet in an Alcoholics Anonymous program in prison, was in episode 309, "Cat and Mouse", on February 24, 2006. "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk"—a fable about a squirrel, a chipmunk, and a love that could never be—was in episode 308, "Star-Crossed Love", on February 20, 2006. "The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig" was in episode 315, eponymously titled, which aired on July 21, 2006. "The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat", was in episode 415, "Crybabies", on September 24, 2010.
- Sedaris, Jonn. Interview on The Daily Show. Comedy Central November 4th 2010.
-  This American Life °288 5/6/2005
-  This American Life °305 12/23/2005
-  This American Life °309 2/24/2006
-  This American Life °308 2/10/2006
-  This American Life°315 7/21/2006
-  This American Life °415 9/24/2010