Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger #1), by Amy Timberlake/Illustrated by Jon Klassen,, (Sept. 2020, Algonquin), $18.95, ISBN: 9781643750057
This is an utterly adorable, amusing story of two unlikely friends. Badger, a rock scientist, lives on his own in his aunt’s house, doing very important rock science; when Skunk shows up at his door, he’s a little taken aback – he clearly hasn’t been reading his aunt’s letters, telling him he’ll be getting a roommate! – and he reluctantly lets Skunk into his home, and, slowly but surely, his life. You see, Skunk is much more of a free spirit than Badger: he cooks delicious meals, zings potatoes across the room while he’s cooking, and makes friends with chickens! Badger, who lives a functional and regimented life, is not sure about this whole Skunk business. After a big sleep over with the chickens leads to an incident where Skunk accidentally sprays Badger, the two have a falling and Skunk leaves; as he’s sadly said before, “No one wants a skunk”. Skunk’s departure gets Badger thinking about what makes a good friend – and is determined to find Skunk and makes amends.
Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake and Caldecott Medal Winner Jon Klassen create an enduring story of compassion, embracing differences, and friendship. Badger is a lovable curmudgeon, paired with idealist, extroverted Skunk – but Skunk knows all too well how he’s perceived by others. When Badger loses his temper and calls him “vermin”, Skunk draws the line between endearing grouchiness and unacceptable treatment. Jon Klassen’s artwork fits perfectly with this sedate, sweet story; he gives memorable scenes life and makes this a book about friendship that kids will turn to again and again. You know what I’m going to say: Frog and Toad fans, this is the book for you. I can’t wait to see what Skunk and Badger get up to next.
Skunk and Badger has starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist.
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