A resourceful badger helps his friends find water in a tale of conservation and cooperation.
One hot summer day, Badger is fixing Rabbit's umbrella when Mouse reports that the stream is dry. Hedgehog worries about his flowers, and Mouse (though she and the other animals are naked) worries about her laundry. Practical Badger wonders what they'll drink. The rounded, button-eyed animals pool what water they have and travel the forest in search of more, sharing their supply with frogs rendered homeless by the dry pond. In a double-page spread that requires a 90-degree rotation, they trudge until they discover a boulder blocking a mountain pool from flowing downstream. Aided by his friends—even the smallest frog—Badger uses a branch as a lever and dislodges the boulder. The rains finally come after the water flows downstream, and the animals praise Badger for the rain barrels he has abruptly constructed. The messages of generosity and teamwork are laudable, but the characters are generic; except for Badger's problem-solving skills, the animals have no distinguishing traits. Chiew's simple text and Pedler's soft, bright illustrations are gentle but bland. For equally simple but more engaging tales of helpful animal friends, Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry's Little Blue Truck (2008) or Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman's Bear Feels Sick (2007) would come in handy.
The tale is an adequate discussion starter on conservation of natural resources but not so great a story. (Picture book. 4-6)