Skunk and Badger
By Amy Timberlake
This was the book I chose as a “read aloud book club” for summer reading. I advertised it as a nice way to chill out, maybe with the family, and basically listen to a live audiobook via Zoom. I basically had one family, with some of their friends popping in for a bit of the second session. I picked it first for the length, because I could read the whole thing in a few sessions. Then the theme also looked appealing and family friendly! It was perfect for our animal theme of “Tails and Tales” for summer reading. And in flipping through quickly, there was an ukulele, so another point in its favor! It also won numerous awards in 2020, but that kind of got overshadowed by world events…
Skunk and Badger has kind of a Frog and Toad, Wallace and Gromit, and Winnie-the-Pooh vibe. Badger is a rock scientist who does Important Rock Work. He lives in his Aunt Lula’s brownstone in North Twist, and is quite content with his life. But his quiet life is interrupted by a knock at the door, and Skunk rushes into his life. Skunk is well-meaning, a good cook, and a great friend to chickens. But as he points out, “Not everyone wants a skunk.” Skunk turns Badger’s world upside down, which to be honest, wasn’t that hard to do. Skunk is loud where Badger is quiet, he is friendly where Badger is reserved, and he is definitely not afraid of making messes where Badger prefers order.
This was a good pick for a read aloud. I may even bring it into classrooms if I am asked to go to older grades for library visits. There was nothing inappropriate, and there were some sections that had ‘big thoughts’ (Henry V and Chicken Little) as well as situations that children may encounter. There were themes of friendship, differences, change, bullying, misunderstanding, and apologizing. The kids that I read to really enjoyed it and are excited for the sequel, and I am too!
(This fulfills the 2021 CBR 13 Bingo square of “New Series” as it was published in 2019.)