Skunk and Badger, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Skunk and Badger, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Funny tale of offbeat animal friendship has kindness, depth.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of geology facts and literature references. Shows how to make a sincere apology.

Positive Messages

Look up from your focused world and allow others in. Apologize in a meaningful way when you're wrong.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Skunk is kind and has boundaries and expectations for how he should be treated. Badger shows a big capacity for growth.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skunk and Badger, by Amy Timberlake with retro illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen (This Is Not My Hat), is a witty, delightfully funny story of friendship between two animals with opposite personalities. The two roommates couldn't be more different in habit and lifestyle, and they each have to navigate their own expectations and happiness while sharing a home. The themes -- compassion, forgiveness, personal priorities -- are good to talk about while reading the story aloud, and for more advanced readers to think about on their own. Badger's interest in rocks means there's a lot of great information about geology, and it's a fun way for kids to investigate the rocks in their own open spaces. For all its humor, the story is surprisingly deep, especially when talking about how to apologize.

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What's the story?

In SKUNK AND BADGER, habit-loving, keep-to-himself Badger suddenly receives a most unwelcome gift at his doorstep: Skunk. Badger had been living in Aunt Lula's house by himself for years, studying rocks in peace and quiet, and is upset that she sent him a roommate -- especially this one. The two are complete opposites, and Badger is sure this will never work out, but Aunt Lula insists he try. Of course, that was before she knew all the havoc Skunk could wreak on the routine of Badger's calm life, and before anyone knew about the chickens.

Is it any good?

In a story that expertly combines humor and heart, the animals here are a great vehicle for understanding other perspectives, and the skilled artwork brings an extra dose of emotion to the pages. The geology facts sprinkled throughout are interesting, and the emphasis on what it takes to make a real, sincere apology gives readers a concrete example to consider and follow. Geared toward younger readers, Skunk and Badger could be especially helpful to those whose own friendships are changing as they get older.

The animals being together despite their differences is something many kids can relate to with their own friends, especially at ages when they might spend time with other kids simply because they're neighbors or their parents are friends. There's a lot more to these oddball animals than the lovely, giggle-inducing story initially shows. And Jon Klassen's illustrations are rich and full, beautifully capturing details and emotions with both color and black-and-white images.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to give and receive apologies, as shown in Skunk and Badger. What do you remember about good and bad apologies you've received?

  • Do you have any habits that might keep you from experiencing new things or meeting new people, like Badger did?

  • Have you ever gotten to know someone and been surprised that that person was different than you expected?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animal tales

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