Skunks (Spot Backyard Animals), by Wendy Strobel Dieker
Like many books about animals, this is a simple and straightforward book aimed at young readers. And much like a similar book I read and reviewed recently on penguins, this particular book has a graphic design focus that seeks to simplify pictures to make it easier to see the skunk and be less distracted by the landscape around it. I personally found the book to be an easy one, and it focuses on skunks as a more rural sort of animal than one who typically makes its den under or near houses and garages to take advantage of the large amount of waste that people tend to leave around. If the result is a somewhat idealized portrait of skunks, it is certainly one that is designed to make children friendly towards them and curious about them, and that is certainly something to celebrate given the way that some people seek to deliberately encourage children to be afraid of skunks, an animal that is not prone to be aggressive and one whose nervousness is easy enough to understand and deal with if one is sufficiently sympathetic and kin in nature, like the readers of this book, hopefully.
This book is a short one, and unlike many books about skunks it does not have a table of contents that divides the book into sections. Instead, the book as a whole, with its lovely but somewhat simplified photos and graphics, tells a story that seeks to repeat a few words over and over again for children to learn like den, kits, stripes, and tail. We look at a skunk who peeks out at night, and sleeps in the den during the day, as well as adorable pictures of baby skunks in their den. There is an encouragement to the reader to look at the stripes or spots that skunks have, as well as the way that the tail goes up when a skunk is scared and sprays at enemies, while also hunting around for food. At the end of the book there is a question asked as to whether the reader found the four vocabulary words that the author was seeking to teach the reader, and then the index and other textual information is included on the last page of the book, making this an interesting and rather simple book for young readers as they seek to learn about vocabulary as well as skunks.