I’m always on the lookout for family read-alouds. This is a gorgeous new take on the animal character, odd-couple friendship, in the vein of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad.
Badger, the geologist, loves living alone in his Aunt Lulu’s brownstone, where he can concentrate on his “Important Rock Work.” She has kindly offered it to him rent free, “Untilyougetbackonyourfeet,” (she is a pine marten who says everything quickly). Until one day, Skunk comes knocking at the door at Aunt Lulu’s behest. Badger takes an instant dislike to Skunk, who has too much slick in his stripe, “too much puff in his tail.”
Skunk likes cooking gourmet food, but not cleaning up. He likes philosophical discussions and hanging out with chickmapolitan chickens. He is at risk of homelessness due to prejudice, but he doesn’t back down from asserting himself with Badger.
Appreciating difference and cooperation
Over eleven chapters, see how Badger learns to appreciate what Skunk has to offer. And how Badger comes to behave in a way he can be proud of.
The luscious language helps Skunk and Badger read like an extended picture book:
Everywhere Badger looked, the earth moved with a chicken beat, syncopated in herks and jerks, and this eye, then that eye, then step-step-step, peer-peck!
The illustrations, by Caldecott medalist Jon Klassen, also help contribute to the special feel of this book. There are four full-colour plates and multiple black-and-white illustrations.
This book worked well with my children, aged 11 and 6, and I can imagine it being a successful classroom read-aloud for Years 2-5. It has all the makings of a modern classic.
A Novel Prescription for:
Gently starting a discussion about stereotyping, cooperation and making friends
Written by Amy Timberlake
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Published by Algonquin Young Readers, 2020, ISBN: 9781643750057
Publication date: 15 September 2020
This book was provided as an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.