cover image Badger's Bad Mood

Badger's Bad Mood

Hiawyn Oram. Arthur A. Levine Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-18920-0

When Badger acts crabby and sad one day, it takes everyone by surprise: ""But Badger's never in a bad mood,"" his friends say. Hoping to cheer him up, Mole, Squirrel and Rabbit pay Badger a visit, but they are met with grumpy replies, and subsequent well-wishers are turned away. Mole assures Badger that everyone will just wait until he feels better. In the meantime, Mole devises an ingenious plan to let Badger know how much he is loved and appreciated, and soon Badger is back to his old self. Oram's (A Boy Wants a Dinosaur) friendly woodland community reinforces a message that bears repeating. Her characters are expressive and concerned without being sappy, and her story makes room for throwaway jokes (Miss Snail turns out to be fond of slow dancing, while Frog is known for his gallant courting). Varley's (Badger's Parting Gifts) breezy ink-and-watercolor paintings, rendered in a pale, earthy palette, create a convincing whole world for Oram's sweet animals. Smartly clad in their timeless Sunday best, they exude charm and personality. Their cozy environs, like the story, make readers utterly welcome. Ages 3-8. (May)