Skunks (Amazing Animals), by Valerie Bodden
Now, skunks are my favorite animals and it is one of those odd quirks that an animal widely feared that I had very positive experiences with growing up should be a particular favorite of my family for multiple generations. At any rate, books about skunks are to be appreciated, especially as a means of testing how it is that the animal is portrayed. When it comes to examining the skunk from a point of view of fondness and curiosity, this book does a great job, as it does not encourage the reader to be timid and frightened about skunks but instead to enjoy them and be intensely interested in them, if from the safe pages of a book rather than more dangerous wildlife encounters. It is not easy to discuss all of the aspects of a skunk–which is a bit of a shame given that the literature about them that is most accessible is very simple and for children rather than the larger and more nuanced literature one finds for animals whose ways tend to appeal more to adults. This is something that ought to be addressed, for while one can easily find large books about cows, horses, donkeys, goats, and chickens, it is hard to find a large book about skunks, glorious as they are.
This book’s contents are pretty straightforward, even so, they are far from rudimentary. The book is large in size and a lot of that size is given over to gorgeous and life-size photographs of skunks being skunks, which is to say that they show adorable skunks engaged in their usual activities like searching for food. The author helpfully explains that skunks squirt musk, use their senses of hearing and smell to explore, and have claws to help them dig, but that while they are omnivorous animals that they tend to lack a great deal in self-defense other than their spray. This book is notable in that it strives to show the skunk as being something quite worthy of compassion rather than fear, and if books like this are popular with readers, it is quite possible at least that some sort of headway may be made against the panic that skunks cause in people, panic that is undeserved given the generally timid nature of the much-feared and musky animal, if I may be so biased as to say so myself.