BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Only Way is Badger (available here)
Author: Stella J Jones
/Illustrator: Carmen Saldaña
Publisher: Little Tiger Press
Publication Date: July 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 1-3
Reviewed by: Tim Dunford (@123_Mr_D ), Class Teacher
Bizarrely, a story about an intolerant, megalomaniac badger is somehow a highly relevant tale for our times. As the title implies, Badger has no time for appreciating diversity and sets about creating a woodland that conforms to his view that the only way is badger. He sets up a wall and covers the habitat with signs that accompany his chanting and placards about how superior badgers are. Things are very black and white for him.
Badger's confidence and tenacity initially convince the other animals that he has a point. They attempt to fit his mould by burrowing, barking and generally trying to comply with Badger's view that they should all be more like him. Steadily, each creature fails to live up to Badger's standards (how can a rabbit bark or a deer dig a burrow?) and is therefore banished to the other side of the wall. Badger insists that this is for the best whenever another animal raises concerns but this eventually makes his world rather dull. It becomes a place where nobody wants to be, including himself. Badger learns a valuable lesson about tolerance and the benefits of diversity in the end.
The artwork is bright, bold, lively and makes good use of colour to reinforce its messages. This book is packed with opportunities for discussion around diversity, tolerance, acceptance and the rule of law. The story could also be used as a framework for children to create a similar story where they change the animal characters but keep the main narrative plot for their own writing. The Only Way is Badger fits neatly beside works with similar themes such as Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann, I'm Number One by Michael Rosen and The New Jumper by Oliver Jeffers.
It would make a great addition to the classroom and I can’t wait to read it to my class.
Many thanks to the publisher for giving us a review copy of this book at the Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase and to Review Panel member Tim for reviewing it.