LitStaff Pick: Fan Letters to Our Favorites

Squirrel Nutkin
A tree
Somewhere in the Lake District
North West England

Dear Nutkin,

Just wanted to take a moment and drop you a note thanking you for being so wonderfully naughty.  I know, naughtiness generally doesn’t merit a thank you letter, but in your case I feel the need to make an exception, as it was the story of your own impudent behavior which kept me on the straight and narrow all these years.

I know you’re thinking that most children in America are shown movies like Scared Straight as a means of keeping them from misbehaving.  Sadly, this was not the case in my family.  As a deterrent against bad behavior, I was often read the account of your visit to Owl Island and the unfortunate incident involving the loss of your tail.  I spent many sleepless nights fearing for your health in the bitterly cold weather common in your ‘hood.’  It was that fear and lack of sleep that led me to curb my enthusiasm and stifle any and all temptations to engage in reckless behavior.

The example of your impertinence has prevented me from ‘acting out’ on not one, but many occasions.  I won’t bother with specifics as I know your attention span is sketchy at best.  Let’s just say that whenever I feel those tiny urges to draw unnecessary attention to myself by brazenly flaunting my breaking of the rules, I simply close my eyes and visualize your little body pinned beneath the claw of that owl, Old Brown and voila!, the urge to misbehave subsides immediately.

Again, please accept my sincerest thanks for sharing your story.  You’ve been an inspiration to me and my children and I can only hope that other parents see the importance of sharing the tale of your tail.

Best wishes and all that,

Lisa Riley Emig