My son and I recently attended an event at the library where the presenter spoke about a variety of animals including skunks. This caught my son’s attention immediately, and he wanted to check out books about skunks. I helped him find a couple books, but I didn’t think too much about it. Much to my surprise, when I read Skunks by Sandra Markle to him that night, I was impressed!
Sandra Markle is a former elementary science teacher and the author of award-winning books for children. She starts out briefly explaining about prey, predators, and the different kinds of skunks. Markle continues with a story of a year in the life of a skunk family. She writes about how they hunt, eat, and protect themselves. Did you know that their defensive spray is useless against owls? Readers will find out why in this book! Markle also describes how skunks respond to changing seasons and various predators.
Warning to parents: When the author writes how a mother skunk cares for her baby kits, there is a picture of a badger with scary looking teeth, and in the story the badger eats two of the skunk kits.
Within this year, the kits grow from birth to becoming parents themselves. “Another generation of skunks joins the cycle of life, a constant struggle to survive between predators and prey.”
I would recommend this book to elementary age children, though parents should decide if their child is ready for the brief skunk and badger scene. The story told by Markle is a great way for children to better understand the lives of skunks, and there are color pictures on every page to go along with the story. At the end of the book, there is a brief section called “Looking Back” with questions to start a discussion with a child about what they learned from this story. There is also a glossary to define words that may be new to the child.
The Dallas Public Library has many of her books, including the series Animal Prey which this book on skunks is part of. Markle has also written a series about Animal Predators and Animal Scavengers. Kids can learn about Tasmanian devils, prairie dogs, wolverines, porcupines, wolves, and more!
My son and I enjoyed learning about skunks, but I still don’t want to meet one (or a frightening badger!).