________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007


Skunks for Breakfast: Based on a True Story.

Lesley Choyce. Illustrated by Brenda Jones.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2006.
32 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 1-55109-586-6.

Subject Headings:
Skunks-Juvenile fiction.
Problem solving-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Robert Groberman.

*** /4


My dad reset the trap. The next morning, he called Glenn. “Guess there were two skunks. You know, like a pair--husband and wife skunks.”

My dad got out the white suit and hockey sticks and loaded up another skunk. I thought he was kind of cute. I went along and saw them drop off this skunk at the same place as before.

“Wouldn’t want to separate a pair of skunks,” my father said.

Skunks for Breakfast is a sweet, true story by Lesley Choyce, based on his 2002 film The Skunk Whisperer. This is the tale of Pamela and her family who wake up one February morning in their Nova Scotia home to the smell of skunk. Thinking that their cat has caused a neighbourhood skunk to spray, the family is not concerned until they realize that, during their day, each is carrying the smell and offending everyone with whom they come in contact. They learn that a family of skunks is living in the crawl space under their house, and so they go about trapping and removing them, one every night. They eventually trap and release 16 skunks!

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     The very detailed illustrations by Brenda Jones are full-colour and take up most of the page. The facial expressions of characters reacting to the smell of the skunks add to the entertainment of the story. Her depiction of Nova Scotia in winter is charming, and the final illustration of the skunk family looking down on the town from their new home is quite beautiful.

     Choyce’s story is funny and engaging. Children will recognize the problem of skunk smell and the problem of animals in the crawl space of a building. They will also enjoy the frustration of the family as each morning there is another skunk in the trap which must be loaded onto the family station wagon and driven to the woods. The father’s skunk transporting uniform of white painting overalls, goggles and hockey sticks is very entertaining.


Robert Groberman is a grade one and grade two teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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