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by Eve Bunting & illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-202609-6
Publisher: Harcourt

Bunting’s Little Badger is as sweet and good as they come, and it is to her credit that the wee beast doesn’t dissolve into a saccharine puddle, despite a push in that direction from Pham, who has a fondness for Disneyesque doe eyes and shy glances. Old Badger (Can You Do This, Old Badger?, 2000, etc.) treats Little Badger to a just-about birthday party. Little Badger delivers the invitations (along with those shy glances) to her friends Woodchuck, Crow, and Chipmunk. They appear at the clearing bearing gifts: a chafer grub, a green acorn, and a moonstone. As they sit around chatting and snacking on crimped worms, it is discovered that each of the partygoers is “just about” to have a birthday. Little Badger decides that “each of you must take home one of my presents.” And they do, after some minor resistance and an assurance that all Little Badger needs is the big, bristly, dry-as-dirt pine cone given to him by Old Badger—and for Old Badger, the bluebell that Little Badger tucked behind his ear at the party. A thoughtful example of generosity, an unbroken circle of giving and taking, and, when she’s not being coy, richly atmospheric illustrations. (Picture book. 3-6)