Cover Image

Skink on the Brink by L. Dalrymple

Dalrymple, Lisa. Skink on the Brink. Illus. Suzanne del Rizzo. Markham: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2013. Print.

Stewie is a little skink, a member of an endangered species, and therefore very much “on the brink”. We meet young Stewie and his very blue tail as he enjoys life by a pond. Here in the forest he engages with other creatures, including a hungry weasel who pounces on him. The skink is safe, but his tail has popped off, leaving him free to escape the weasel’s clutches. Back grows the tail as beautiful as ever.

However as Stewie grows he changes, and the beautiful blue tail is now a dull grey. Nothing feels right. Trying to escape the changes that are happening to him and mourning the loss of his blue tail, Stewie makes for a new pond. Here he meets a wise woodpecker who helps him to accept the changes in his colour as part of “growing up “. He sends Stewie back to his home pond, now more sure of himself and happy to be home.

This gentle story of accepting the changes that growing up brings, and therefore accepting and loving yourself, is illustrated in lively pictures sculpted in modelling clay. The fine sense of texture and lively presentation complement the story well.

Skink on the Brink won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award (Canada) for 2014.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Andrea Deakin

Andrea has been involved with books since she was class librarian in Primary School, Student Librarian in Grammar School, student librarian for the Education Faculty when she was a student, and school librarian in schools both in England and in Canada, except for the first two years in Canada where she arrived in 1959. When she retired from teaching ( English and History) she was invited to review in February 1971, and continued to review for press, radio, and finally on the Internet (Deakin Newsletter from Okanagan College) until she retired in 2011. Forty years seemed sufficient- although she still cannot keep her nose out of good children's and YA fare.