Review by Ian Keogh
Bird & Squirrel are a classic comedy duo, dumb and dumber perhaps, neither smart enough to realise how dim they are. They’ve escaped the dangerous circumstances seen in Bird & Squirrel on Ice, and are now making their way home to the comfort of the forest, but it’s one hell of a long journey.
Over previous outings it’s been shown that Squirrel lacks courage, which actually significantly understates the case, as the terror over dust in the sample art shows. Bird has too much, actually entirely misplaced given his level of intelligence, and the opening thrust of On the Edge is Squirrel needing to cope while Bird is unconscious. Thankfully Bird’s condition is the result of rescuing a bear cub from wolves, and the cub considers them friends. As happens in all comedies when a character is knocked out for some time, when Bird regains consciousness, James Burks has him with a changed personality, now as cautious and timid as squirrel, and lacking all his previous knowledge. He doesn’t even know how to fly any more.
After two previous volumes of madcap comedy, readers should be aware of what they’re getting with Bird & Squirrel, although it’s not necessary to have read the earlier books to appreciate the laughs to be had here. Bird, Squirrel and the bear cub wander through the woods having unfortunate encounters with many other creatures. From them Burks spins knockabout comedy gold, working out a few jokes per meeting and delivering them with the timing of a master.
Burks has a great manic cartoon style, but as the wolves here display, when menacing is needed, menacing is provided. Crucially, though, never to the point where it’s going to scare younger readers too much. There’s a surprising transformation before the end, and after another hilarious outing Bird and Squirrel are next seen in Bird & Squirrel on Fire.