It was in an English children’s encyclopedia published in 1910 that Axel Scheffler discovered this marvellously quaint oddity. Some of the advice given here on how to keep your squirrel safe and sound in its cage just seems to beggar belief.
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But it is Axel Scheffler’s incomparably quirky drawings, which steer a middle course between children’s doodles and cartoons, that provide the finishing touch which makes The squirrel keeper’s companion such a beautiful book. Among other things, we learn that a hundred years ago English children were warned against keeping a captured squirrel as it was’difficult to tame and always likely, when suddenly alarmed, to give our finger a nasty nip with its teeth‘. We are also informed that it is ‚best to obtain our animal in September, when its coat is in the best condition‘. Beware: ‚If the teeth are yellow the animal is old and should be rejected.‘ An indispensable compendium, long overdue, don’t you think so? Jens Dirksen
Inspired by Bechstein’s poem Der Verdrüßliche (The Morose One) Axel Scheffler has added his own heart-rendingly funny illustrations which perfectly capture the mood of the title. Much-read in his lifetime, Ludwig Bechstein ...
Axel Scheffler, born in 1957, studied art history in Hamburg, and, from 1982 to 1985, Graphic Arts, in Corsham, in the UK. Besides illustrating children’s books he has also provided drawings for magazines and advertisements. Today Axel Scheffler ranks among the most-acclaimed illustrators for children’s and adolescents’ books worldwide. He lives in London with his family.
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