YOUNG, Rebecca (text) Leila Rudge (illus.) The Skunk with No Funk Walker, 2014 unpaged $24.95 ISBN 9781922179012 SCIS 1671790
Baby Woody is a skunk which has thrown his family into a flap. He has no funk – no smell at all! How will he frighten away the foxes and owls and other nasties? Ma turns into a helicopter parent as she tries to follow Woody everywhere to protect him from any risks. But she can’t do that forever. Woody’s great love is music. He gets distracted by the robin’s song and the woodpecker’s bop and the grasshopper hop. In the end, it is his bopping, hopping and popping that astonishes the owls and on the last page . . .
The illustrations have been created with pencil, ink, paper and glue. This gives a soft finish with muted colours and the use of cream paper is very fitting. The anthropomorphic touches include red-and-white striped shoes and patchwork quilts which impart a homely feel.
There are a couple of problems with this book. One is the use of the word ‘funk’. While it rhymes beautifully with ‘skunk’, it doesn’t mean a bad smell or pong, it means a state of fear or depression. Another problem is the way the attack of the owls is illustrated. While it is true that great horned owls do eat skunks, they are nocturnal and usually hunt at night. However the illustrations in this section are on white background and do not show the events happening in the dark. However this is a cute story for preschoolers using animals not encountered in Australia.
reviewed by Lynne Babbage