REVIEW: Sydney and Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Deborah Hocking
Sydney is a skunk and Taylor is a hedgehog, but no matter how odd the pairing may seem, their friendship comes naturally. They live happily in their cozy burrow . . . until the day Taylor gets his Big Idea to go see the Whole Wide World. From mountains taller than a hundred hedgehogs, valleys wider than a thousand skunks, to the dangers that lie in the human world, Sydney and Taylor wanted to see it all. With a map and a dream, they bravely set off, soon discovering that the world is much bigger than they realized . . .
Sometimes when your bestie wants to do something that you really don’t want to do, you just have to suck it up and go along with them. After all, when a small hedgehog wants to explore the Whole Wide World, he might need a little help. The story is fun and amusing with cute illustrations. But there’s a lot more to it with meaning hidden beneath the humor.
Sydney the skunk isn’t wildly enthusiastic about his friend Taylor’s Big Idea but he’s going to go anyway – that is, after he gently helps Taylor see that they don’t need to take all that food or tennis rackets or most of the other things Taylor was determined to haul along. Once Sydney realizes that Taylor truly doesn’t have a clue about how to read a map and has got them lost, Sydney doesn’t start talking about your expedition or how this is what Taylor had wanted to do. No, Sydney’s a friend so he says our expedition and that this is “just what we wanted.” When danger appears and Taylor reverts to what scared hedgehogs do, Sydney never berates his friend for being who and what he is. And isn’t that, along with bringing sunglasses and using their stinky musk, what friends do? B+