In 2010 the renowned essayist David Sedaris returned to fiction with Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. Subtitled A Modern Bestiary, this book is exactly that: tales featuring different animals exhibiting foibles found amongst first world Homo sapiens. Inspired by the works of Aesop and other classics of world literature, Sedaris decided to give the trope a twist of his own. These are not all fables—many lack a clear moral—and this book is mostly unfit for small children.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a different animal than his previous work—Barrel Fever (the only other purely fiction prose by Sedaris) or his much-celebrated essays—different in that these stories are infused with fantasy. Still, some of the stories in this "Bestiary" contain a very strong moral fiber (particularly Hello Kitty) and would fit well in an anthology alongside the works of William Bennett or Roald Dahl.
The mordant wit which is Sedaris's trademark is present in each of these sixteen stories. They are all splendid. My favorite was the longest one, at the end of the book: the Grieving Owl.
The sole Christmas story, the Cow and the Turkey, was included in a recent reprinting of Holidays on Ice. A few of the others were read as part of broadcasts of the radio show This American Life.
These stories are accompanied by the grin-inducing illustrations of Ian Falconer, who mostly does children's books. Published by Little, Brown and Company.
159 pages, 21.99 USD