At every turn of events, the title characters’ personalities seem to shift and reverse.
Sydney and Taylor live in a burrow under Miss Nancy’s potting shed. Sydney is a skunk who loves to sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the world above. Taylor is a hedgehog who longs to travel and explore the world beyond the burrow. Sydney cares about his friend and wants him to be happy, so he agrees to an expedition. Almost immediately, however, Taylor becomes nervous and worries that his fear of new things and strangers will overcome him; Sydney staunchly reassures him. Although they have never even met Miss Nancy and know nothing of what waits beyond her fence, they set off feeling “wild and fearless and free.” At first Taylor is the brave one, mapping the route and leading the way. But with every new encounter Taylor’s fright takes over, and it is Sydney who provides leadership and solutions. To their great relief—and with a little help from Miss Nancy—the intrepid adventurers arrive home safely. Davies describes the action with verve, humor, and compassion, employing vivid, expressive syntax as she focuses on the characters’ nonfussy, genuine friendship and the shifts in their dynamic. Hocking’s very carefully rendered, brightly colored illustrations closely follow the events, capturing the friends’ personalities and their every emotion; their burrow, seen in an early cross-section, is a delight unto itself.
An enduring friendship wins the day in this chapter-book adventure.(Fantasy. 6-8)