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Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills


Conservative and liberal politics butt heads over economics, the environment, and immigration in a modern-day Animal Farm and Ant-and-the-Grasshopper style fable in Arthur Mills’ Friend or Foe.


Tolmie State Park seems like a paradise for all the birds and woodland animals, with enough fruit, nuts, seeds, and acorns for everyone. But one day, Mitch the chipmunk is surprised when a flock of blue jays takes residence in the park. They seem friendly at first, but they are not above mocking Mitch and his wife for their hard work preparing for winter.

One day, the chipmunks discover someone is stealing from their hard-earned stores. Soon, the blue jays engage in persuasive rhetoric, turning the other animals against the chipmunks. Like a surreal version of the French Revolution gone wrong, the hardworking chipmunks are persecuted and left trying to survive, while their former friends lack all common sense. Soon, the rash behavior of those around them causes the chipmunks and their persecutors to realize an economic and environmental nightmare has begun for everyone.

Friend or Foe is a modern-day fable covering politics, economics, the environment, and immigration that ties together the deepest concerns of our present day. Friend or Foe will educate younger readers about work ethics and proper conservation efforts. In comparison, older readers may be frightened by its relevance to our current immigration policies.

How can Friend or Foe Contribute to your Personal and Intellectual Growth?

Reading Friend or Foe is paramount as it offers lessons with relevance to all ages, fostering a lifelong connection. It deepens one's understanding of ecosystems, showcasing the complexity of our environment. The book promotes perspective taking, nurturing empathy towards different viewpoints. Through its story, readers develop a rich literary appreciation. The story emphasizes engagement with nature, reminding us of our inherent bond with the earth. By celebrating various characters, it cultivates an appreciation for diversity. The challenges presented hone problem-solving skills, provide insight into current issues, and crucially, promote discussion, encouraging readers to engage in meaningful conversations.


Characters drive a story, enabling readers to connect emotionally, explore diverse perspectives, and engage with the story. Their journeys offer insight into human [animal] nature, making abstract themes tangible and relatable, thus enriching the reader's experience and understanding of the story's core message.

Chipmunks (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

The chipmunks, especially Mitch and his wife Tamias are industrious, curious, and adaptive. Their dynamic showcases teamwork and mutual care. The Chipmunks represent the hardworking individuals who plan and save for the future. Their ability to forecast and prepare for winter underscores the virtue of foresight.

Ants (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

The ants play the role of storytellers and symbolize the persistent, hopeful force in nature. The matron ant's role is vital for understanding the park's past and its current situation.

Blue Jays (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

The Blue Jays, especially their leader Javlin, are characterized by their slow, deliberate style and their inclination towards "style over substance." They depict a lack of foresight, impulsiveness, and disregard for others. Their theft of the chipmunks' hard-earned food is an allegory for the perils of short-term thinking and exploitation.

Animals (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

All the other animals demonstrate critical roles in the ecosystem and highlighting nature's diversity. Their interactions and contributions showcase the interconnectedness of life in the park. The animals showcase varying degrees of vulnerability to the blue jay's rhetoric. Some are swayed by his words, while others become fearful of their place in the changed order.

Old Owl (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

Old Owl is a wise figure, always sought after for advice or information, acting as the park's historian or record keeper. His knowledge comes from observation, experience, and a broad perspective.

Tolmie State Park (Friend or Foe by Arthur Mills)

A dynamic, diverse, and rich ecosystem hosting various flora and fauna, serving as a backdrop for interactions, survival struggles, and the harmonious coexistence of its inhabitants. Its history, conservation issues, and ecological importance underline its significance.


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