The Lovesick Skunk by Joe Hayes


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


The Lovesick Skunk
Author: Joe Hayes
Illustrator: Antonio Castro L.
Published November 9th, 2010 by Cinco Puntos Press

Goodreads Summary: Joe Hayes must have had a singular growing up in the Arizona desert because he sure loves to write stories about it. And he tells those stories of his so much to audiences all over the United States that it seems like the stories just get more and more fantastic. I bet you’ve already heard the first tall tale he wrote—The Gum-Chewing Rattler—about a rattlesnake who chewed bubblegum. Yes, it’s true. That scary snake even blew huuuuuge bubbles.

Now Joe has written a new story about his early years in Arizona. Joe, the kid, was a creature of habit. If he decided he liked to do something, he would do it over and over again. Like wear the same T-shirt until it nearly fell apart or use the same pencil until he’d sharpened it down to a nub. He also had a pair of black-and-white high-top sneakers that he loved to wear. He wore them every day. “Get rid of those shoes,” his mother told him one morning. “They smell terrible!”

Did Joe listen? Not until he met the back end of a skunk.

And this wasn’t just an ordinary skunk, but one who was lovesick.

But I’m not going to tell you who she was in love with. You’ll have to find that out for yourself.

About the Author: Joe Hayes is one of America’s premier storytellers, a nationally recognized teller of tales—true and tall—from the Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo cultures of the American Southwest.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The Lovesick Skunk reminds me of a tall-tale or other traditional literature. The way it is told, with a bit of  humor and moral, and even how the book is set up with the whole page illustrations on one page and the text on the other are both reminiscent of traditional tales. I think Hayes’s story is a great introduction to personal narrative about a favorite object as well as writing a story with a moral. It could definitely be used as a mentor text.

Discussion Questions: Do you have anything, like Joe’s shoes, that are your very favorite and if you could wear them every day you would?; Do you think Joe thought about keeping his shoes even after the “Skunk incident?”

We Flagged: 

Read This If You Loved: Family Pictures / Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza and other picture book memoirs

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


**Thank you to John at Cinco Puntos Press for providing a copy for review**

6 thoughts on “The Lovesick Skunk by Joe Hayes”

  1. Our fourth grade does a unit on memoirs and this might fit right in. Above though you mentioned the holocaust – was that just a holdover from an earlier post? This doesn’t seem related.

    • OOPS! Thank you Crystal! I copied and pasted it and didn’t realize that Ricki had changed the intro. THANK YOU!

      I think this would fit perfectly with a memoir unit. It is quite funny too 🙂 Kids would love it.


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