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“Nuts About Squirrels” Raise Questions In U.S. Capitol

Pictured: Don Corrigan with his new book, “Nuts About Squirrels” in Washington D.C.

Is it true that climate change is causing squirrels in America to migrate north or to move to different elevations in mountain areas? Do humans bear any responsibility for the disruption of the habitat for squirrels? Are squirrels better equipped than humans to deal with global warming and climate change?

These were some of the serious questions author Don Corrigan was peppered with at the recent U.S. Popular Culture Association convention in Washington, D.C., from April 16 to 21.

Corrigan’s book, “Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture,” debuted at the McFarland Publishing book site at the convention on April 16 — and promptly sold out. McFarland marketing guru Savannah Clemmons said the book appears to be “a must” for squirrel fans.

Read more below. Also find a list of Corrigan’s local book signings!

Of course, there were plenty of questions on the lighter side about Corrigan’s study of how the furry critters are covered in newspapers, films, television and more. Like: Whatever possessed Corrigan to write a 75,000 word manuscript on squirrels?

“I thought about writing an expose on Donald Trump, but that idea was taken. Besides, squirrels have more staying power,” he said. “Squirrels have been around for at least 60 million years and are likely to be here another 60 million. Trump will be a footnote in U.S. history in two decades. I wanted a book that stays relevant.”

In his book, Corrigan makes the case that squirrels are not your average rodents. He also points out that these nutty little creatures have been stars in the mass media for many decades.

“Victorian writer Beatrix Potter gave us Squirrel Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes in British children’s books. American television gave us an agile Rocky the flying squirrel in ‘The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,’” he said. “In the movies, squirrels caught the attention of Jimmy Durante, Chevy Chase and Will Ferrell.”

As a long-time reporter, Corrigan also revels in recounting news stories of squirrel mischief such as shorting electric grids, invading homes and even transmitting the Bubonic Plague.

Upcoming Book Signings

• Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m., at the Webster Groves Library, 301 E. Lockwood Ave.

• Tuesday, May 7, 7 p.m., at the Kirkwood Public Library, 140 E. Jefferson Ave.

• Monday, May 20, 7 p.m., at the Jefferson County Public Library, Windsor Branch, 7479 Metropolitan Blvd. in Barnhart.

Corrigan is an award-winning writer and editor-in-chief of the Webster-Kirkwood Times, South County Times and West End Word. He has taught journalism and mass communications for four decades at Webster University. He presents regularly at Popular Culture Association conventions throughout the U.S. His blog is environmentalecho.com. He can be reached at corrigan@timesnewspapers.com or 314-968-2699.

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