about the book
Twitch the squirrel lives in the schoolyard and the students consider him a part of the school. One day Twitch is chased by a hungry owl all across the yard. Chained inside the yard is the principal’s dog, Cuddles. Twitch, desperate to get away from the owl, scampers over Cuddles and wakes him up!
Now Cuddles is the one chasing Twitch. To get away from Cuddles, Twitch decides to dash inside the school building itself.
Cuddles follows! Chaos ensues!
Wanting to help their fellow little creature, the classroom pets of the school—complete with a hamster, rabbit, parrot, turtle, snake, rat, tetras, and gecko—all give their narration of what happened in the hectic, school-destroying chase that follows.
Yes. Yes, “Vivian Vande Velde” is her real name. No joke. Her husband’s name is Jim Vande Velde, and it is on the marriage certificate and everything. She did not make it up!
Vivian became a writer because she loves stories of all kinds, and especially fantasy. For her, there isn’t a time in her life she can remember not wanting to be a writer. Her parents convinced her early on that she could be whatever she wanted to be, and early on she chose to be a writer.
However, it took many years for her to become professional. Vivian was born in 1951 in Rochester, New York, and has basically been there her whole life. When she and Jim married and they had a daughter, Vivian quit her job (she was a secretary) and became a stay-at-home mom. With no excuse to not do household chores, she decided then to take up writing as a serious hobby.
Her first book went across the desk of 32 publishers before number 33 said they would publish it! So, she says, if you are an aspiring writer, just keep going. The number of publishers doesn’t matter, just keep going!
Also by Vivian Vande Velde:
Frogged. Harcourt Children’s Books. 2013.
Three Good Deeds. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 2005.
Wizard at Work. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 2003.
Smart Dog. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1998.
Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1995.
about the illustrator
Steve Bjorkman was born in the front seat of his dad’s ’49 Ford convertible about 50 years ago. They were trying hard to get to the hospital, but they were just too late. Being born in a convertible is a pretty cool thing, and Steve believes his quirkiness comes from that.
Eldest of four children, Steve has always been drawing and painting, spilling ink and paint on a multitude of objects in his house and incurring the wrath (but understanding) of his parents.
Steve’s original plan after college was to be a high school illustrator, but for some reason there was a detour, and now, 25 years later, he is an accomplished illustrator. He has been in advertising, greeting cards, and has illustrated over 70 children’s books to date!
Steve lives with his wife in Irvine, California. They have three kids, a cat, a dog, and a tortoise from the desert, who seems always trying to escape from their yard.
Also illustrated by Steve Bjorkman:
Silly Street : Selected Poems by Jeff Foxworthy. Harper Collins. 2010.
Puppy Power by Judy Cox. Holiday House. 2008.
Dirt on My Shirt : Selected Poems by Jeff Foxworthy. Harper Collins. 2008.
Coyotes All Around (MathStart) by Stuart J. Murphy. Harper Collins. 2003.
Grizzly Gazette (MathStart by Stuart J. Murphy. Harper Collins. 2003.
Safari Park (MathStart by Stuart J. Murphy. Harper Collins. 2002.
The Case of the Green Guinea Pig (Jack Gets a Clue, Book 3) by Nancy Krulik
In the weeks leading up to the class field trip, someone plays a prank on them by dyeing the guinea pig green—and now mean old Principal Bumble says he’ll cancel the trip unless the prankster stops. Now it is up to Jack, his ability to talk to animals, and his brainy friend Elizabeth to ensure the trip goes on as planned.
Malcolm at Midnight by W.J. Beck
Malcolm the rat loves being a class pet at McKenna School. But at McKenna there is the Midnight Academy—an organization of the other classroom pets, led by an iguana who believes in the bad reputation of rats. When the iguana is kidnapped, Malcolm is instantly suspected, and now the poor rat must prove his innocence!
Smart Dog by Vivian Vande Velde
Fifth-grader Amy has a sixth-grader’s problems. She is unpopular, she is picked on by the nasty kids, and someone has started a malicious rumor about her and the dweebiest boy in school. Everything changes when she meets Sherlock, a university lab dog on the run. Sherlock needs Amy’s help, and now her problems seem like nothing!