Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

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Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
First edition cover
AuthorDavid Sedaris
IllustratorIan Falconer
Cover artistIan Falconer
CountryUnited States
GenreEssay collection, Fiction
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
Publication date
September 28, 2010
Media typePrint (hardcover), audiobook
Pages176 pp (first edition, hardcover)
Preceded byWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames 
Followed byLet'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.[1]


  1. "The Cat and the Baboon"
  2. "The Migrating Warblers"
  3. "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk"[a]
  4. "The Toad, The Turtle, and the Duck"
  5. "The Motherless Bear"[b]
  6. "The Mouse and the Snake"
  7. "The Parenting Storks"
  8. "The Faithful Setter"
  9. "The Crow and the Lamb"
  10. "The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat"[c]
  11. "The Cow and the Turkey"
  12. "The Vigilant Rabbit"
  13. "The Judicious Brown Chicken"
  14. "The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig"
  15. "Hello Kitty"
  16. "The Grieving Owl"

  1. ^ Previously published as "So a Squirrel and a Chipmunk Walk into a Bar"[when?][where?]
  2. ^ In the audio edition of the book, this story is read by actress/singer Elaine Stritch.
  3. ^ Previously published as "The White Rat"[when?][where?]

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;[2] "The Cow and the Turkey", in which barnyard animals play Secret Santa;[3] "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk", a fable about a squirrel, a chipmunk, and a love that could never be;[4] "Hello Kitty", in which predators and prey meet in an Alcoholics Anonymous program in prison;[5] "The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig", about finding happiness in spite of the others' expectations;[6] and "The Sick Rat and the Healthy Rat", about the relationship between positive thinking and physical health.[7]


  1. ^ Sedaris, Jonn. Interview on The Daily Show. Comedy Central November 4th 2010.
  2. ^ [1] This American Life °288, "That's Not What I Meant," 5/6/2005.
  3. ^ [2] This American Life °305, "The This American Life Holiday Spectacular," 12/23/2005 (rebroadcast on 12/26/2010).
  4. ^ [3] This American Life °308, "Star-Crossed Love," 2/10/2006.
  5. ^ [4] This American Life °309, "Cat and Mouse," 2/24/2006.
  6. ^ [5] This American Life °315, "The Parrot and the Potbellied Pig," 7/21/2006.
  7. ^ [6] This American Life °415, "Crybabies," 9/24/2010.