Skunk and Badger

Skunk and Badger cover
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake. Illustrated by Jon Klassen

by Amy Timberlake
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Algonquin, 2020
136 pages

Ages 7-10

Enjoying a quiet, solitary life in the brownstone owned by Aunt Lula, a pine marten whospeaksveryfast, Badger is dismayed by Skunk’s arrival, battered suitcase in paw, with an invitation from Aunt Lula to stay there, too. On the bright side, Skunk is a terrific cook, and Badger reluctantly agrees that doing the cleanup afterward is fair … mostly. Skunk’s quiet nighttime pursuits—reading Shakespeare and contemplating the moon—are harmless. But scientist Badger cannot abide Skunk’s constant daytime interruptions of his Important Rock Work and writes Aunt Lula to say the arrangement isn’t working. While Badger awaits her reply, Skunk invites some chickens over for story time—lots of chickens. Skunk is sure the stoat who delivers a telegram from Aunt Lula is lying in wait for the chickens so insists they spend the night. After Badger is caught in the crossfire when Skunk sprays the stoat (who was lying in wait for the chickens), he loses his temper. Skunk and the chickens disappear. Problem solved?  Not quite. Badger didn’t mean to hurt Skunk’s feelings, or upset the chickens—can he make things right? A story offering humor and warmth in equal measure shines with rich language, playful descriptive writing (“The bulb hummed fluorescently”) and terrific characterizations. There’s so much for younger listeners and older readers to delight in and reflect upon, including two full-color plates and occasional black-and-white illustrations that add to the story’s immense pleasure. ©2021 Cooperative Children’s Book Center