Name of Book: Badger’s Parting Gifts
Author: Susan Varley
Illustrator: Susan Varley
Publisher: Mulberry Books
Audience: Ages 4 and up
Summary: It was winter. Badger was old and knew that he would die soon. “His body did not work as well as it had in days gone by.” He wished he could prepare his friends for the time when he would not be live with them. But because he knew his time was coming soon, Badger wrote a letter to his friends saying good bye. All the animals were very sad when they learned that Badger had died. Before he died, Badger told his friends not to be sad, but it was hard for the animals not to be sad. They missed Badger. In the spring the animals got together to talk about Badger. They discovered that each animal had received a gift from him. In remembering Badger’s gifts, each animal is heartened and encouraged.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is an uplifting story which can help children who are grieving the loss of a grandparent. It is a story of loss which can help children and people of all ages, but it is particularly suited to those persons who are grieving the loss of someone who has been having problems with poor health due to age.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The fact that the story is told with animals instead of people gives it a universal theme for every child and person. The story would not be helpful for people in a culture that does not value animal stories.
Theological conversation partners: Badger left “gifts” to his friends. He is remembered by how he acted towards his friends, and what he did—in life. He taught Mole how to cut out a special chain of paper moles; he taught Frog how to ice skate; he taught Fox how to knot a tie; and he taught Mrs. Rabbit how to bake wonderful gingerbread cookies. Not only was Badger a teacher, he was “dependable, reliable, and always ready to help when help was needed.” Badgers’ gifts to his friends were a legacy, and invaluable. When his friends remember each gift they received from Badger, they are comforted. Jesus left his teachings to his friends and to the world—gifts which are revered and treasured. The New Testament scriptures of the Bible record Jesus’ teachings to his first disciples, and to us in the world today.
Faith Talk Question:
- Do you understand how the animals felt after Badger died?
- Have you lost someone who was very special to you?
- If so, can you remember any gifts that person left you?
- How does remembering the gifts someone left you–comfort you, now that person is no longer here?
- Can you think of any gifts that you might “give” to others someday?
This reviewed was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Chris Feno.
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.