I took my granddaughter to the “big library” (as compared to the rural one that I work at) in a nearby city today and discovered this book, The Skunk on the new book shelf. This picture book was created by a mighty team from the world of children’s literature. Mac Barnett is the best-selling, award winning author of books such as Extra Yarn, Chloe and the Lion and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.
Patrick McDonnell, awarding winning children’s book author and illustrator and creator of the Mutts comic strip, illustrated The Skunk. I am a fan of both Barnett and McDonnell, so I happily added this book to our pile. Then, this evening I sat down and read the book. Illustration and text are both simple so it only took me a few minutes. My reaction was that this was a mystery that anyone could understand. Almost a psychological thriller. In a picture book. What fun! This would be a great book for a mystery lover to share with a young friend.
The book, told by an unnamed man, begins “When I left my house, there was a skunk on the doorstep.” The man, being appropriately cautious, eases past the skunk and goes about his business. The skunk follows.
“I thought it was funny that a skunk and I could be going in the same direction. But after a mile I realized I was being followed.”
A chase begins, with the man trying to lose the skunk in various ways. What does the skunk want and why is it following him? At last, the man goes to great lengths to lose the skunk. But does he succeed? I won’t give away the twist at the end. (Or perhaps I should say ‘the twisted end.’)
But here’s a bit from the middle.
“It was a dead end.”