Skunks are cute, when seen from a distance. But - whew! - up close they pack a sensory wallop. So I figured it's only fair to combine these books in a review.
themes: animal families, animal adaptations, nonfiction
by Laurence Pringle; illus by Kate Garchinsky
32 pages; ages 6-9
Boyds Mills Press, 2019
Warm. So warm! Five baby skunks snuggle in the fur of their mother’s belly.
This book takes us inside the underground burrow of a striped skunk and her kits. The burrow is a cozy place, lined with soft leaves and grasses. It’s filled with warmth, earthy smells, and mama skunk’s musky scent. As the kits grow, they begin exploring outside the den. Eventually mama takes them on a foraging expedition, digging up beetle grubs to show them how to find food.
What I like about this book: Kate Garchinsky’s illustrations are so soft that you almost feel the furry little kits. And Laurence Pringle finds the best words to describe skunk sounds: squeak, squeal, churr, twitter. I love the narrative arc of the story told over one season of the skunks’ lives: from birth in the spring, through summer growth, and into the fall when they are preparing for winter dormancy. I also like the back matter where you can learn a lot more about skunks, check out words in the glossary, and find a short list of books about skunks.
Check out my reviews of Pringle’s other Secret Life books: little brown bat, woolly bear caterpillar, and red fox.
Given the musky fragrance of skunks, it’s only fair to consider the noses of those living nearby!
by Mary Holland
32 pages; ages 5-9
Noses come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some are pointed, some are flat. Some are tiny and some are huge.
In this book we meet a variety of animal noses: shrew noses, bird nostrils, bear and possum sniffers, and insect … antennae! Because everyone needs to be able to smell their friends, their enemies, their food, and potential mates. Some of these noses are very strange – like the star-nosed mole’s nose. The question is: what kind of nose do you have?
What I like about this book: The photos are fantastic. Holland took most of them – she posts her nature photos on her blog, Naturally Curious. One of the things I like about Arbordale books is the back matter – four pages of book-related activities. Holland includes more information about the sense of smell, fun facts about animal noses, a matching game and a thoughtful challenge.
I like how Holland focuses on one animal adaptation and shows the diversity of ways of using that adaptation. You can check out my short reviews of her books about tails, legs, eyes, and ears.
Beyond the Books:
Skunks are omnivores. That means they eat both plants and animals. Are you an omnivore? What do you eat for your meals?
Your nose provides information you need to use. What is the best smell you’ve discovered? What is the worst?
STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copies provided by the publishers.