The energetic badger boys, Tic and Tac, agree to hang laundry while Ma Badger goes to market—and Ma receives a shock when she returns.
If the funny cover art does not draw in readers, the opening page will do the trick. The two young badgers, identical but for their differently colored striped shirts, lie spread-eagled on the grass, expressing a sentiment often heard from children in the middle of a day at home. “ ‘I’m bored,’ said Tic. ‘Me too,’ said Tac.” As the tale progresses, Ma Badger, in her gingham dress and white apron, suggests activities, all of which are declined by the jaded youngsters. The art is charming and hilarious, reminiscent at times of both Esphyr Slobodkina and Barbara McClintock. Ma Badger uses her washtub and old-fashioned hand-wringer while the children race around and get underfoot. Ma Badger patiently teaches her progeny how to properly hang wet laundry on the clothesline that extends from tree to tree. Readers will laugh as they learn how Tic and Tac further entertain themselves—and how their oh-so-practical mother deals with the situation. A pretty, outdoor, watercolor landscape provides background for the comically rendered badgers, the “boys” always active, Ma calmly laboring. The text is accessible and expansive fun for young readers: “They pilfered the pots. They pirated pillows.”
This tale of badger mischief is excellent both as a read-aloud and as a book for beginning readers. (Picture book. 3-8)