"Readers who know Twitch from his previous stories are in for a side-splitting new adventure, and those unfamiliar will want to seek out his other stories. Alternating chapters between Twitch’s and Sweetie’s points of view allows both characters to develop fully and shine... Readers will go nuts (mostly acorns) for this book!"
Playing dress-up from a young age
Squirrel on Stage
Illustrated by Steve Björkman
Ages: 7-10 years
Publisher: Holiday House
A schoolyard squirrel and a pet rat try to watch the student production of Cinderella but end up stealing the show when they accidentally find themselves on stage.
Where do you GET those ideas?
I have had such a good time writing the previous books about Twitch, and I always love seeing what the brilliant Steve Bjorkman does with the illustrations, so I was open to thinking about a new book. In 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos, Twitch the squirrel meets eight class pets plus one dog (duh!). In Squirrel in the House, I concentrated on the relationship between Twitch and Cuddles the dog. In Squirrel in the Museum, it is the two science lab geckos who get the action moving. Which pet could I team up with Twitch next? Well, Sweetie the library rat is Twitch's best friend, and Sweetie loves books, especially Cinderella--since, as he says, it is the rat hero who saves the day by driving the coach that brings Cinderella to the ball. So Sweetie was a natural for the next book. And since I participated in school productions, I had my setting.
Sweetie says, "It's about a rat who becomes a coachman and helps this girl, Cinderella, get to the ball so she can meet the prince so that the two of them can live happily ever after. It's my favorite."
This sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't remember all the details. I ask, "Cinderella and the rat live happily ever after? Or the prince and the rat? Does the rat play with the ball? Is it one of those really bouncy balls or is it the kind that people toss back and forth to each other?"
Sweetie looks confused, so maybe he can't remember all the details, either. "None of the above," he tells me.
"Okay," I say. "Will they play the play here in the library?"
"No." Sweetie's tail droops. "They'll put on the play at a special place they call a stage." Has there ever been a sadder-looking rat? When Sweetie was acting out my story about looking for the acorns, he made his voice bigger than normal. Now his voice is smaller than normal when he tells me, "It's a long way from the library to the auditorium where the stage is."
"But Cinderella is your favorite story," I point out.
He sighs. A rat sighing is a very sorrowful sound. "I'll hear them talk about it tomorrow."
"I don't think that's a good idea," I tell him. "I think it's a good idea for the two of us to go together to see the play."
Children's author and literacy specialist (and good friend!) Judy Bradbury has a blog called Children's Book Corner, where she talks about books and interviews authors, She has very kindly featured Twitch when he went to the museum
and now again when Twitch goes on stage.
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