Jan 22, 2013

Thistle & Co.

by Era Zistel

Another book I picked up at random from the Book Thing. As the cover suggests,  it's about a collection of animals that form (more or less) friendly relationships: cats, raccoons and skunks. There's not much introduction to the book, it doesn't explain the setting or circumstances but just launches right into stories about the animals. So it took a bit of reading before I figured out that this was just a kind-hearted soul taking injured and abandoned wildlife into her home when people brought them to her. It started with one raccoon, who when finally let outside made friends with wild raccoons in the neighborhood and brought them all home for handouts. They ended up living in the crawl space under the house, which caused quite a few problems later on.

The second half of the book tells about a baby skunk that was taken in and how the author gradually trusted the skunk enough to give it the run of the house, even though everyone was afraid it would become alarmed and spray. Quite to her surprise, the skunk had a calm personality and even learned to play with one of the cats. This animal never adapted to living on its own, was frightened of going outside alone, and when finally startled into flight by the raccoon mob, there were sad consequences.

Overall it was a nice light read, entertaining and educational- I learned quite a bit about raccoon and skunk behavior. It was a bit dismaying to read about things like the overcrowding of raccoons under the house causing disease outbreaks, but I kept reminding myself that this book is quite dated, and nowadays it would be illegal to keep wildlife in your home like the author did. They would have to go to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

Regardless, the skunk turned out to be such a charming animal, I'm glad to have read it.

Rating: 3/5 ......... 101 pages, 1981


  1. Poor skunk. I don't want to know what the "sad consequences" are. But it sounds like a nice, gentle animal.

  2. Well, the skunk didn't actually die in the story, but got removed so far from home that it's unlikely it could have survived, never having fending for itself at all.


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