While Badger benefits from living rent-free in his Aunt Lula's brownstone so he can do Important Rock Work, he doesn't extend the same welcoming generosity when Skunk appears on his doorstep. Amy Timberlake's first book in the Skunk and Badger series is a fun take on the odd-couple friendship and you'll be rooting for Skunk from the get-go. Badger is adorably cranky and one hundred chickens appearing as supporting cast members turns this into a ridiculous romp. I loved the geology components (it's educational, too!) as well as the new-to-me chicken varieties such as the Transylvanian naked neck chicken.
— Rachel Watkins
Equal parts Odd Couple and Frog and Toad, this gem of a book is a hilariously heartfelt tale of an opposites-attract friendship. Ideally this book should be read aloud, bringing to life Timberlake's delightful turns of phrase ("Skunk tip-clawed away," etc.) and cozy brownstone setting, with a Moon Room, a candle-lit breakfast table (the nicest meal!), and LOTS of chickens. Klassen's atmospheric illustrations heighten the deadpan, Lobel-esque mood, evoking classic kids' books but with a wholly modern vibe.
— Hannah DeCamp
Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“Skunk and Badger has everything I want in an early reader book: madcap silliness, fun science facts about geology and chickens, and a heartfelt lesson told through the mistakes Badger makes on a bumpy road to friendship with Skunk that lead him to reckoning and atonement. Also, Jon Klassen’s artwork is beautiful and adds so much to the story. Loved it!”
— Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books, San Diego, CA
About the Author
Amy Timberlake’s work has received a Newbery Honor, an Edgar Award, a Golden Kite Award, and the China Times Best Book Award. She grew up in Hudson, Wisconsin, but now calls Chicago home. She is a proud alumna of Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in history, and holds an MA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. You can find her walking on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail on cool, crisp fall days.
Jon Klassen is a Canadian-born author/illustrator. He has written and illustrated three picture books of his own (I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat and We Found A Hat) and illustrated many other author's texts, including Sam & Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett, The Dark by Lemony Snicket, and Pax by Sara Pennypacker. His books have won a Caldecott medal and two Caldecott honors and other international awards. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and son.
“Wordy fun, with laugh-out-loud dialogue…this book defies age grouping. Anyone who has shared a living space — with siblings, classmates or grown adults — can relate to this witty and whimsical tale… Lovers of rocks and chickens, and nerds of all stripes, will crack a smile…Scratchy yet sophisticated ink drawings by the Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen add warmth to the already cozy text…they give this handsomely designed book the look and feel of a classic.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cumudgeonly Badger is not amused when Skunk moves in. Endearing comedy ensues.”—People
"Gloriously complemented by Jon Klassen's meticulous illustrations, Skunk and Badger
has the feel of a bygone era while telling a completely modern (and delightful) story of how hard change can be, and how worth it change is.”—NPR
"A splendid entry in the odd-couple genre, Timberlake’s spunky series opener posits that compassion and inner transformation can strengthen the unlikeliest of friendships. It’s an approach that gestures toward broader societal conversations (consider the word that prompts Skunk to leave: “vermin”) without losing focus on the story’s delightful central duo. The use of fragmented sentences, repetition, and onomatopoeia makes for a fun read. Klassen’s muted, wistful artwork, meanwhile, invokes sweeping sentiments during key events. Exceptionally sweet."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Newbery Honor Book author Timberlake doesn’t underestimate her readers, unhesitatingly incorporating advanced vocabulary and probing Badger’s inner turmoil… Klassen contributes a winning mix of vintage-feeling color paintings and black-and-white drawings, which highlight both the story’s sweet and laugh-out-loud moments, as well as its understated quirk. It’s a treasure of a book that promises future misadventures from your new favorite odd couple." —Booklist, starred review
"Art by Caldecott Medalist Klassen offers Wind in the Willows
wistfulness. Gleeful, onomatopoeic prose by Newbery Honoree Timberlake, meanwhile, keeps readers engaged through laugh-out-loud repetition as she tackles sensitive issues such as elitism, exclusivity, and even science cited for nefarious purposes. Frog and Toad–like in nuance and tenor, this is no old-fashioned story in which Skunk charms Badger and thaws his frozen heart. Badger is in a privileged position, and his refusal to share what he has and to protect Skunk and his guests has a deep and timely significance—one rendered with an expertly light touch." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Clear themes of tolerance, friendship, and understanding drive the story in a way that children will respond to. The subtle nod to unemployment and potential homelessness that begins the story provides opportunities to expand learning and compassion. Overall, a sweet unlikely friendship story that would be a welcome addition to any elementary or public library." —School Library Journal
"Amy Timberlake writes with whimsical humor reminiscent of A.A. Milne, Arnold Lobel and Kenneth Grahame, which is reinforced by Jon Klassen's splendid illustrations. [A] charming, funny and touching trilogy opener." —Shelf Awareness
"In Skunk and Badger,
Amy Timberlake has created a wonderful world . . . 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. 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."—New York Journal of Books
"Reminiscent of Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories... Klassen’s black and white art is finely lined with intricate detail and rich shading, calibrating to the story’s classic feel but maintaining a modern edge. Readers graduating from Lobel’s work but still looking for a good animal buddy story will find it with Skunk and Badger." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A charming tale with gorgeous illustrations to match. The unlikely friends story is one that many will appreciate and enjoy, with plenty of nostalgia for older readers. We all remember being read to sleep with wonderful stories, and who is to say we don’t deserve it as adults too? Underneath the cosy atmosphere of Timberlake and Klassen’s creation is a deep, thought-provoking children’s book that doesn’t talk down to younger readers. It is a surefire fall treat."—Bookstr
"Amy Timberlake has written a laugh-out-loud funny book for younger middle graders that puts a fresh spin on the old trope of learning the importance of friendship. The writing is terrific and so funny. The delightful illustrations by Jon Klassen are a nice addition to the story. Kids will love this one, as will anyone who gets hold of it."—Manhattan Book Review
"Kids will love the humor in this book, as the two of them learn to adjust to one another’s peccadilloes and become friends. Hint: you’ll love it, too."—Philadelphia Tribune
“Somewhere east of 'Frog and Toad' and west of 'The Odd Couple' live Skunk and Badger,
as mismatched a pair of musteloids as you'll ever find in North Twist…Jon Klassen's full-color plates and spot black-and-white illustrations give Skunk and Badger
an old-fashioned appearance in the right kind of way…You will learn a little about rocks and chickens while reading this book. More importantly, you will learn about the delicate art of working things out with the people you live with, a timely lesson for many of us cooped up together during the COVID-19 pandemic.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Skunk and Badger
is everything I want in an early reader book: madcap silliness, fun science facts about geology and chickens, and a heartfelt lesson about the mistakes Badger makes on a bumpy road to friendship with Skunk and Lead him to reckoning atonement. Also, Jon Klassen’s artwork is beautiful.”—The San Diego Union Tribune
“…Both an entertaining solo read for emerging readers and a lively read-aloud for younger kids. Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen’s occasional illustrations add yet more pizazz to a story rich with humor and heart.”
“Fresh and warm as a waffle. More, please!”
— Adam Rex, New York Times best-selling author of The True Meaning of Smekday and School’s First Day of School
“A gently brilliant book by Amy Timberlake. Skunk and Badger reads like a classic yet couldn’t be more timely, and is one of those books that you want to start rereading as soon as you reach the end. Jon Klassen’s art is fabulous and perfectly suited to the text.”
—Jarrett Lerner, author of EngiNerds and Geeger the Robot Goes to School