Saturday 2 October 2021


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Egg Marks the Spot ('Skunk and Badger' #2) by Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen   {Reviewed by STELLA}
Welcome Badger and Skunk back in another brilliant adventure filled with just as much charm and even more daring than the introductory volume. In Egg Marks the Spot, Badger has moved his rock work (‘focus, focus, focus') to the attic where he can not be interrupted (although Skunk does find a way to distract him, often a ploy involving food) and hens are absent. As he studies with concentration over his desk, the question 'Rock or mineral?' reverberating in the rafters, he takes in his rock collection, beautifully laid out in their cabinet — a shelf for each, lit by its very own lamp (and as Skunk observes in alphabetical order), steadfastly avoiding the empty spot at ‘A’. Rather than his prized possession, the Spider Eye Agate, there is just an absence. The absence triggers memories of his cousin, Fisher (the weasel)'s thievery and his bullying ways. But Skunk has his own problems. Sunday happiness for Skunk is the delivery of the New Yak Times, especially the book section. As he’s cooking up a storm for a lunch (did you know he is something of a foodie…), a letter arrives from Mr G. Hedgehog, who has got wind of Skunk’s new residence at North Twist and intends to resume their previous arrangement in regards to the Books Section of the New Yak Times — an arrangement that Skunk has never agreed to and plunges him into despair about the impending Sunday, bereft of the fabulous reviews in his beloved newspaper. Somehow Mr G. Hedgehog thinks he has first dibs on this section. To remedy his woes Skunk comes up with the great idea to head to the woods on a rock hunting expedition. So starts a hilarious scene where the friends’ personalities come to the fore. Badger is carefully weighing up the multipurpose values of each item to be packed and the actual weight to be carried, while Skunk has acquired a very large pack (for a Skunk) and is intent on fitting in all the needed cooking items (and a few extras for good measure), including a cast-iron pan and bellows (for the fire) as well as several hard-to-pack utensils and yes, apparently, 5kg of flour is essential. And depart they do, even as Skunk trudge, trudge, trudges, head down, bearing the weight of his very full pack to No.5 camping spot at Endless Lake. All that food does make for delicious picnics, and Skunk and Badger are happily rock-hunting in their very own ways. When Skunk goes off to meet a friend, Badger is curious and follows. And yes, Skunk is up to something! And it does involve a very small orange-feathered hen (one we have met before), but also lurking in the woods is Badger’s unappealing cousin, Fisher. Let’s just say, expect to be as surprised as Badger. What follows is a dangerous and important mission for a small hen, a brave Skunk and an even more loyal Badger, involving gleaming treasure, a large creature (who may be related to hens), worker rats, and a weasel in name and nature! Wonderful! 

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