Fried Calamari by Francine Zane is the story of a gutsy, sprightly, smart but rather lazy raccoon who was born in the Alaskan wilderness and spends his time foraging or hunting with his two brothers, or getting into fights with bigger predators over food. But when he meets with an accident and wakes up in the care of two women who have a bunch of other animals in the household, things take quite an interesting turn. He discovers that he is adept at understanding human language (he even finds ways to communicate with the women), becomes a home cook, learns how to work the appliances, and he even has his own bed – but yet another accident happens, and his entire life flashes before him.
In her website, author Francine Zane reveals that this endearing raccoon is part of the sequel to another story, Shyster & Shyster, and that the more she wrote it, the more Calamari’s character unfolded, compelling her to tell his story separately in Fried Calamari. In the same post on her site, Zane says she isn’t sure whether or not Fried Calamari is a children’s book. True enough, what initially looks to be 28-page book for bigger kids turns out to be a hilarious read for grown-ups. Zane’s unique sense of humor and wacky imagination shine brightly in this short story told from the perspective of an ever adventurous Calamari. Despite the fact that one can go through the book in a matter of minutes, it is nevertheless a page turner, what with Calamari’s little life being full of action. Amazing that for such a short story, this light and greatly enjoyable read can bring out so much laughter. Such an entertaining read!