Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Jenkins, Emily. 2008. SKUNKDOG. Ill. by Pierre Pratt. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374370091 [Suggested Grade Levels K–3]
Dumpling is an adorable, obedient dog who unfortunately has no sense of smell. She doesn’t sniff everything the way other dogs do, and just can’t relate. She enjoys her people family, but it isn’t the same as having a four-legged friend and she is lonely. When her family moves to the country, she obliviously pursues a new friend – a skunk whose way of relating to Dumpling is to spray her with skunk stink.
This new friendship doesn’t make Dumpling’s family happy and they repeatedly tell her to stay away from the “yucky, stinky skunk.” Dumpling’s obedient nature takes a backseat to her newfound friendship as she bounds around with her stinky friend. In the end her family realizes that the friendship makes Dumpling happy and more importantly, that tomato juice baths can remedy the skunk stink. Rather than forbidding Dumpling from playing with her friend, they just learn to hold their noses, and stock up on tomato juice.
In pairing a skunk and a dog with no sense of smell Jenkins shows readers that there is a friend out there for everyone. And although your family might not always understand your choice of friends, they can come to accept them because the friendship makes you happy. Pratt’s illustrations are spot on with Dumpling’s oblivious and eager expressions, and her family’s exasperated but not angry disgust with the smell. Vibrant use of color will keep young readers interested and pages turning as readers cheer for Dumpling to finally find a friend.
Encourage readers to share stories about their friends and what makes them different from each other.
Other books written by Emily Jenkins:
DAFFODIL, CROCODILE. ISBN 0374399441
THE LITTLE BIT SCARY PEOPLE. ISBN 9781423100751
WHAT HAPPENS ON WEDNESDAYS. ISBN 978037438039
By Tammy Korns