Squirrels of New York
October is Squirrel Awareness Month and there is a varied and robust Literature of Squirrels Stories as I noted last week. As I was reading through the many delightful examples available at the library, I discovered a number of stories with a common setting. They were squirrel stories set in New York City, in the borough of Manhattan, and specifically in the parks of that borough, with the most frequent setting Central Park.
Take my word for it, to a librarian this is a most exciting thing. Deep in the heart of Texas, I had discovered a literary sub-genre: New York City Squirrel Stories!
The mayor of Central Park / by Avi
In 1900 Big Daddy Duds, a rat from downtown, decides to move uptown with his gang. He likes the layout and looks of Central Park. Since he has an in with his good friend, the new police commissioner who’s a real lizard, Big Daddy thinks he’s got everything figured and fixed. But the rat hasn’t reckoned with the honorary honorable mayor of Central Park and captain of the Central Park Green Sox, a real slugger of a squirrel named Oscar Westerwit!
Lexi's Tale: A Park Pals Adventure / Johanna Hurwitz ; illustrated by Patience Brewster
Pee Wee the guinea pig is rescued from a bad end in the jaws of a dog by mysterious human. What’s mysterious about him is that neither Pee Wee, nor his friend, Lexi (short for Lexington Avenue) the squirrel can understand what he is saying, and both of them understand what most people passing through Central Park say.
Harold's Tail / written and illustrated by John Bemelmans Marciano
This story doesn’t start in Central Park; it starts in Strauss Park, then moves to Riverside Park and then all about Manhattan. Harold’s travels starts with a scheming rat named Sidney. He tricks Harold into shaving his tail. Then Sidney glues the shavings onto his tail and moves in to Harold’s home in Strauss Park. Harold finds himself homeless. With a bare unbushy tail everyone thinks Harold is a rat!