THE SKUNK by Mac Barnett


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
Email this review


When is a skunk not a skunk? When it’s a…skunk.

A bespectacled man peers out his front door at a red-nosed skunk perched on his stoop, gazing back. The skunk does nothing overtly threatening, just looks at the man and then follows him down the street. The man sports tails and a cummerbund, his red bow tie visually connecting him to the skunk’s red nose; overall, McDonnell’s palette is muted, metropolitan blacks and grays occasionally accented by peach and red. The skunk is bipedal, his posture mimicking the narrator’s as he tails the man through the city on foot and by cab—yet, the narrator tells readers, “the skunk was a skunk.” To the opera, through cemetery, carnival—a brief sojourn on a Ferris wheel is particularly symbolic of existential futility—and sewers the man flees, finally finding himself in a completely different part of the city, where he buys a new house. Here the palette changes to primary colors; there is no skunk, but the man’s visiting friends take on the look of circus clowns. Something is missing; the man leaves his housewarming party to find “[his] skunk.” On doing so, the man begins to tail the skunk, to “make sure he does not follow me again.” Adults will turn themselves inside out trying to figure it out; kids will either find the whole idea hysterical or just plain befuddling.

Peculiar, perplexing, and persistent—training wheels for Samuel Beckett. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 14th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-59643-966-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2015


ChildrenSQUARE by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett
ChildrenTHE WOLF, THE DUCK, AND THE MOUSE by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett
ChildrenI LOVE YOU LIKE A PIG by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett
ChildrenPLACES TO BE by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett


ChildrenSHINE! by Patrick McDonnell
by Patrick McDonnell
ChildrenTEK by Patrick McDonnell
by Patrick McDonnell
ChildrenSILLY WONDERFUL YOU by Sherri Duskey Rinker
by Sherri Duskey Rinker


ChildrenHOME OF THE BRAVE by Allen Say
by Allen Say
ChildrenA LION IN PARIS by Beatrice Alemagna
by Beatrice Alemagna