If You Wake a Skunk

If You Wake a Skunk
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
April 15, 2023
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Oh-oh! A skunk! What's a pair of campers to do? This laugh-out-loud cautionary tale will have readers cringing as each page is turned. Tension builds as the campers creep closer and tempt fate, dismissing the skunk's warnings. But skunks can be fakers. Does this one have the stink to stank the campers? Title includes back matter about skunk biology and behavior, and supports elementary NGSS units related to animal survival and adaptations.

Editor review

1 review
Odor-able Picture Book
Overall rating
Writing Style
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Two children are out for a walk at camp when they see a sleeping skunk behind a tree trunk. They try to be very quiet so as not to wake him. When one of them sneezes, the skunk wakes up! They try to quietly back up, but the skunk smells them and prepares his attack. He focuses on the children, does a handstand, and points his hindquarters in the children's direction. He snarls and hisses, and the children run away as fast as they can. Luckily, the skunk did not have any musk left to spray, so was unable to spread his stink. The campers are very relieved after their close call. There is a good note at the end of the book about "Skunks and their stink defense" as well as some fun facts about skunks.

Good Points
Since I walk to work early in the morning, when these nocturnal creatures like to roam my neighborhood, I have had many close encounters with skunks. Thankfully, they have never resulted in me being sprayed! I appreciated the fact that the book repeatedly warns the children to pay attention to the skunk's behavior and run away before they are at the receiving end of the skunk's musk. Since chances are good that children, especially at camp, might occasionally encounter the animal, this is a good warning. It was slightly concerning in the book that the skunk was out in the daytime, and I was surprised that the skunk ran at the children; I have only seen skunks doing a funny, lop sided waddle. There is a lot of humor in this episode, however.

The camp setting is nicely done, with lots of white space so that the words are easy to read, and a lot of green and brown in the background. The skunk is cute and funny, and young readers will laugh at the panel showing the skunk's backside. The text is presented in simple rhymes, and this is a perfect length to read again and again.

Learning about animal behavior is an important start to STEM related education, so this is a good book to add to others about animal habits, like Hodgkins' Thump Goes the Rabbit, Thompson's You Are a Raccoon, Bove's I Wish I Was a Polar Bear, and Kaner's Animals Do That, Too! Adult readers of a certain age will want to read the whole book in Pepé Le Pew's voice, which might confuse those who haven't seen the cartoons, but which would be a fun touch.
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