Choogh the Squirrel
Bittie Mithal
Partha Sengupta
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
National Book Trust
squirrels pets nature and wildlife
picture book, fiction

When a little boy is handed over a baby squirrel he is thrilled. He and his friends names it Choogh. The young boy becomes very fond of the squirrel and looks after it, nurtures it and even plays with it. All his friends and family too are excited to have Choogh as a part of the family.
As Choogh grows older, he starts to wander around much more, hiding in the closet and around the house. One day, the boy cannot find him anywhere. Everyone in the family search high and low for him, without any success.
The boy is heartbroken at the loss of his friend. However, the wise old cook suggests that perhaps the squirrel had run off to be with his family - to the squirrels running up and down, and chasing each other in the tree that grew outside the house.

The boy realises that perhaps the squirrel had wanted his freedom and that truly the best place for him to be in was with his clan, after all.

What a great way to drive home to kids that keeping pets taken from the wild - be they birds, squirrels or other such animals, however well they are looked after, is depriving them of their freedom to be where they truly belong.

Reviewed by Rifat Tejani