Review of Skunk and Badger

Skunk and Badger
by Amy Timberlake; illus. by Jon Klassen
Primary, Intermediate    Algonquin    136 pp.    g
9/20    978-1-64375-005-7    $18.95
e-book ed.  978-1-64375-121-4    $15.95

Badger is perfectly content to live alone in a brownstone owned by Aunt Lula, which he’s arranged to suit his rather particular preferences, when a surprise roommate turns up. (It would have been less of a surprise had he not been too busy to read Aunt Lula’s letters.) Skunk needs a home — “Not everyone wants a skunk” — but the impetuous and sometimes literally effusive Skunk’s interference with scientist Badger’s Important Rock Work just won’t do. The personality pairing familiar to readers of Frog and Toad and the like should help ease the transition to this more challenging text, with its advanced vocabulary (“He’d shelved [the rocks and minerals] alphabetically with the most delicate specimens wrapped in tissue paper”), long paragraphs, and only occasionally interspersed illustrations. Those illustrations, some in black and white and some in warm color, echo the text’s old-fashioned feel. This new series, with its humor and understated (well, sometimes) emotions, deserves a far warmer welcome than the one Skunk initially receives.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She is a current member of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee, and has served on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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