Otters vs. Badgers, by Anya Glazer, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644117
Otters and badgers live on either side of a shared river, but they do NOT get along until Francie, a shy otter who loves to bake delicious treats, accidentally ends up in badger territory on a quest to find new ingredients. The resulting kerfuffle can only be resolved with Francie’s delicious baked goods! Glazer spins an amusing tale of sharing and finding common ground that readers will appreciate. Cartoon animals communicate outside of the omniscient narrator through speech bubbles, making for a fun readaloud. Anthropomorphic characters sport scarves and bowties, carry babies in slings, and wear hats. Francie has a wooden spoon tucked behind one ear and rocks a striped apron. Endpapers are striped to match Francie’s apron. The fun resolution shows readers that you don’t have to agree on every single thing to get along. A good book to read as kids head back to the classroom, or enter classrooms for the first time.
Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure, by A.L. Kennedy/Illustrated by Gemma Correll, (March 2018, Kane Miller), $5.99, ISBN: 9781610677400
Recommended for readers 7-10
Bill is a peaceful badger who finds himself kidnapped by two awful sisters, who intend to make him fight (even though badgers hate wearing prizefighter shorts) in their badger fighting ring. Turns out the awful sisters are the McGloones, relatives of the awful McGloone family. Seriously, the entire family is just awful; they’re filthy, rude, and all-around mean! Farmer McGloone and his wife also have four llamas held captive, and since they’re depressed and stressed (and ill-fed), they’re not producing enough yarn for the McGloone luxury socks that Mrs. McGloone wants to knit, so they plan to make the llamas into PIES. Such despair! What’s a friendly badger and four depressed llamas to do? Thank goodness for Uncle Shawn, a lovely eccentric who happens to love animals. He comes up with a plan to save everyone and live happily ever after (unless you’re an awful McGloone).
This book is bananas, and I mean that in the most loving sense of the word. Orginally published in the UK in 2017, it’s loaded with madcap, black Scottish humor (come on, they’re making a badger fight in a fight club and threatening to bake llamas) that will make readers laugh out loud when they’re not cringing. Seriously, some of the descriptions of the McGloones are pretty stomach-churning. Black and white cartoons throughout the book add to the laughs. Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure is the first in a new series, so there’s more to come: the second book, Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Pajimminy Crimminy Unusual Adventure, just hit shelves in the UK. Give this to your Roald Dahl and David Walliams fans and expand their global literary palate!