Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1)

Image of Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1)
Release Date: 
September 15, 2020
Algonquin Young Readers
Reviewed by: 

“Lovers of Winnie the Pooh stories and The Wind in the Willows will find a contemporary story in the same vein.”

In Skunk and Badger Amy Timberlake has created a wonderful world, one where skunks love chickens and curmudgeonly badgers learn how to be a good friend. When rock-obsessed Badger finds a new roommate foisted upon his solitude, he’s naturally crabby, but Skunk’s quirky ways win over Badger as he realizes that his regimented life needs shaking up in exactly the way Skunk provides. The ending may be predictable but is no less satisfying since the characters are so lovingly drawn, and the world they inhabit so vivid. Lovers of Winnie the Pooh stories and The Wind in the Willows will find a contemporary story in the same vein.

There are gentle moral lessons as well about stereotyping. “Not everyone wants a skunk,” Skunk admits when first introducing himself. When Badger blows up at Skunk after getting accidentally sprayed, Skunk, who was protecting his chicken friends from a hungry stoat, defends himself, “That was not my fault. You leapt!” Badger then says something he will bitterly regret, “And they wonder why no one wants to live them! Skunks are the true nuisance animal.”

The book charts Badger’s softening toward Skunk (and the chickens): “He had to admit that talking to Skunk had been an enjoyable way to end the evening. It would never work out! But Skunk certainly has his moments.” After a magical evening with chickens in the moonlight, Badger thinks, “This is the best night of my life.” So when Badger kicks out Skunk after the stoat incident, the reader knows Badger will not be happy to return to his old familiar life. In fact, he’s miserable and searches everywhere for Skunk and the chickens, hoping to bring their chaos back into his too-orderly life.

The book ends on just the right note and readers can hope for more adventures with this mismatched pair. Like George and Martha and Frog and Toad, Skunk and Badger feel like literary friends with many pages of stories to tell.