First Friday Critique: Shenanigans of Seamus the Squirrel


Hooray for Friday, and hooray for a First Friday Critique submission! Up for your review today is the first page of a picture book manuscript. Be sure to add some compliments and suggestions in the comments below!


Seamus the squirrel is not like every other squirrel. He is a super brave ninja-like daredevil and cannot turn down dares from fellow squirrels, especially when his buddy Sal triple dog dares him to take a swim in the neighbor’s dog’s water bowl. With some very careful planning, Seamus sets off on his mission but ultimately finds out who the bravest squirrel is when things don’t go quite as expected. Intended for 5-8 year olds.


Shenanigans of Seamus the Squirrel

Triple Dog Dare Ya

By Anonymous


Hey there, I’m Seamus. I know, big deal, a squirrel. There’s about ten of us in your backyard right now. But they aren’t like me…

Are they super brave ninja-like daredevils?

I didn’t think so.

I didn’t get this reputation for nothing. I earned it by stealthily beating all anti-squirrel contraptions set around every birdfeeder in the neighborhood. But one day my buddy Sal dared me to do something different…

“I dare you to take a swim in Maverick’s water bowl.” Maverick is the neighbor’s dog that has a drooling problem and barks at anything that moves. He especially hates squirrels.

I snorted, “Ha! So easy. You have to come up with something crazier than that!” (I said I was a daredevil but I’m not stupid.) I played it cool, hoping he would think of something else.

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3 Responses to First Friday Critique: Shenanigans of Seamus the Squirrel

  1. Kristen C.S. says:

    Lot’s of great voice in this opener. The phrase ‘stealthily beating’ felt a bit stilted and clunky, tripping up that sentence a bit, but otherwise I thought things flowed well. And I’m definitely curious to find out what happens to Seamus. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lindsay Bandy says:

    This is so cute, and I love the way kids would pick up on how Seamus is “playing it cool.” What a great dare – I can’t wait to see if he does it! I’d love to have some specific ways Seamus has been brave and ninja-like, maybe even just in an illustrator’s note depending on your vision for the book.I know he’s defeated the anti-squirrel mechanisms, but maybe we could know how he did at least one of his amazing stunts. Seamus strikes me as kind of the opposite of Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel.

  3. Brinton Culp says:

    Great voice. Super fun read aloud. I agree that “stealthily beating” disrupts the flow, but either “stealth” or “stealthily ” might still work if you rework the sentence. Seamus definitely embodies the idea of stealth. Thanks for sharing the start of this fun story!

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