“This celebration of curiosity and loving fathers is sweet and full of fun details.”
As night falls, a baby badger wakes up and begins to explore, first in his underground home and then farther afield with his loving father in the night-time forrest above. His repeated question—”What’s next?”—propels the story and the little badger forward to new experiences, while opening an opportunity for readers to talk about the importance of appreciation versus repeated requests for more, more, more. As his curiosity gets the better of him and he sallies forth to explore the day-time alone, Baby Badger becomes acquainted with the delights of a world bathed with sunshine before realizing that he’s all alone and far too tired . . . just in time to be rescued by his dad. This simple story is carried by the illustrations, which create a world of interest in the dark-time and underground scenes rare in children’s books; the lost treasure, dinosaur bones, bulbs and other riches hidden beneath the surface add a sense of wonder and beauty to the badger’s world that gives little readers an opportunity to feel a thrill of discovery that mirrors that of Baby Badger. The contrast between night and day in the illustrations is poignant, and while colors of the day-time are vibrant and fun, the nighttime shines with a level of detail that belies the pure gray color scheme.
An inquisitive baby badger is drawn to discover the world outside his den in an endearing, delightfully illustrated father-and-child story. Baby Badger sleeps all day in his snuggly burrow. When he wakes, he explores every nook of his home and wants to know “what’s next?” So Daddy takes him to the dark forest above to roll in soft moss and snuffle in bluebell bulbs and watch the silvery moon setting, a signal that night is ending and it’s time to go home. But if daytime is “what’s next,” how can Baby Badger sleep without seeing that? So he slips out alone to see the brilliant flowers and birds and to feel the yellow sun hot on his fur. Cozy illustrations and a child-friendly text depict a curious little creature dazzled by the world’s natural wonders — and a doting father who is there to guide him back if “what’s next” turns out to take him a bit too far.
There are lots of fun details to watch for throughout the book, particularly in the soil. What can your child find?
Baby Badger is awake at night (a nocturnal animal), but through his curiosity he learns about what you experience every day during the daytime. What can you learn from Baby Badger’s story about life at night? What other animals are awake?
Jane McGuinness received an MA in children’s book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art in England. Prickly Hedgehogs! is her first book. She says, “There’s something mysterious about animals that come out at night, while we’re fast asleep!” Jane McGuinness lives in England.
To Owen, with love.