Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger 2)


By Amy Timberlake

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

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Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake returns with a follow-up to the bestselling, award-winning Skunk and Badger. With illustrations by Caldecott medalist Jon Klassen, this new adventure begins as Skunk and Badger head out on a rock-finding expedition, finding surprises behind every boulder.  

Buried in the heart of every animal is a secret treasure. For rock scientist Badger, it’s the Spider Eye Agate he found as a cub, stolen years ago by his crafty cousin, Fisher. For Badger’s roommate, Skunk, the treasure is Sundays with the New Yak Times Book Review. When an old acquaintance, Mr. G. Hedgehog, announces his plan to come for the Book Review as soon as it thumps on the doorstep, Skunk decides an adventure will solve Badger’s problems as well as his own. Surprisingly, Badger agrees. Together
they set off on an agate-finding expedition at Badger’s favorite spot on Endless Lake.

But all is not as it seems at Campsite #5. Fisher appears unexpectedly. Then a chicken arrives who seems intent on staying. Something is up!


Secrets, betrayals, lies

. . . and a luminous, late-Jurassic prize.


Chapter One

RAP-RAP. RAP-RAP-RAP. THE KNOCKING SOUNDED ON the attic door, the door of Badger's new rock room.

It was his roommate, Skunk. Badger would ignore it. He will go away, he thought. Important Rock Work—focus, focus, focus. Badger gritted his teeth and leaned forward on his rock stool. He adjusted his special work light and lifted the unidentified object on his rock table.

He glanced at the list in his Important Rock Work notebook:

— igneous?

— granular groundmass — greenish

— red phenocrysts VERY SPARKLY

He looked at the object. He read the list again. He ran his paw over one of the object's phenocrysts, and thought, It is time.

Yes, it was time for the first question: Rock or mineral? Mineral or rock? Minerals were made of one basic material—one element or "an elemental compound," as the rock scientists said. There tended to be a sameness about a mineral. A rock, though, was a combination—a combination of minerals, or a combination of rocks and minerals. Two minerals stuck together? Rock. Five minerals scrambled up with a rock chucked in? Also, a rock.

The question, rock or mineral, was best asked loudly. It was followed by tossing the object into the air. When Badger caught the object, he would yell out the answer in a thunderous voice.

Badger's ears twisted in the door's direction. No sounds. So Badger opened his mouth, inhaled, and—


The rapping was insistent—always, it insisted.

Badger exhaled and waited for what he knew would come next.

It came: "Badger?" Rap-rap. Rap.

Badger set his head upon the rock table. He had thought that moving his rock room from the living room to an out-of-the-way place, like the attic, would help. Strategic! he had thought at the time. Back then, a tug on the chain of the attic's one bare bulb revealed a jumble of cardboard boxes, broken luggage, an assortment of odd furniture, an aquarium, a stack of oil paintings, and a claw-footed bathtub filled with hats.

Badger rotated his head to one side and spied the bathtub. The bathtub had refused to budge, so Badger had left the bathtub's third of the attic full of jumble and declared it useful storage with the added benefit of buffering the sound of his rock tumbler. Then he cleared out the remaining two-thirds for his rock room.

Out of the jumble had come a chair and a reading lamp. The pool table worked wonderfully well for rolling out geological survey maps, and the umbrella stand for storing them. Badger had utilized the attic cabinetry, lining drawers with soft velvet for hand lenses and magnifying glasses, his pocket utility knife, his scrapers and bradawls, his fine dust puffer. He'd hung hooks for hammers and chisels. Only when all this had been accomplished had Badger lugged his boxes of rocks and minerals, his table, his stool, and his work light up the two flights of stairs to the attic. "Weeks of work," Badger groaned.

Rap-rap-rap! Rap! "Badger? Are you in there? Badger?"

Badger ignored this and let his eyes take in what had once been a long, windowless wall. Badger had lined that wall with shelves. He'd installed light after tiny light. He'd written out name cards and found suitable stands—one for each specimen.

Badger lifted his head. He pushed back from the rock table. The wheels of his stool clattered over the uneven floorboards.

"Badger, is that you?"

Badger stood. The stool jostled.


Badger walked to the wall and flipped the light switch.

Behold, Badger's Wall of Rocks! Under each light a specimen shone—the exceptional, the one-of-a-kind, the rare and unrivaled. The copper shimmered. The mica sparked. The labradorite pulsed with color like some translucent deep-sea fish. "Yes," Badger whispered. Then his eyes alighted upon the empty stand at the beginning of his Wall of Rocks, and he felt a searing pain. He quickly looked away.

A muttering from the other side of the door: "It sounds like he is in there. He is not in his room. He is not downstairs. He is definitely not in the kitchen—where he always is."

Badger frowned. I am not always in the kitchen. He put a paw on the doorknob and threw open the door. "Yes?"

Skunk—his paw on the door's opposing knob—flew into the room, along with a spatula that flipped free and a whisk that whistled by Badger's ear.

Skunk caught himself with a grin. "You are here. I knew it! Funny how I flew. Ha!"

Badger observed the smudged and spattered kitchen apron and the wild zag in Skunk's stripe. He spoke with emphasis: "The door was shut." Badger swept a paw in the direction of his rock table (tools out, notebook shoved to one side, an unidentified object bathed in a pool of light). "Important Rock Work?"

Skunk groaned. "This again? You think a closed door is so simple to understand. But as I have explained before, a closed rock room door means more than one possible scenario. Scenario One: You are working on Important Rock Work. In Scenario One, doors must not be knocked upon or opened unexpectedly—not even when lunch is on plates and cooling rapidly. Then there is Scenario Two: You go out for a paw pie at the Veg & Egger. You are not here, but your rock room door is shut." Skunk crossed his arms. "Badger, it is not easy to tell the difference between Scenario One and Scenario Two. If you do not like knocking, you should clarify this situation."

Badger shifted. "Lunch? Left out? To grow cold?"

But Skunk's attention had been captured elsewhere. "Look at those rocks!" Skunk bounded to the windowless wall. He stuck his head near a shelf and squinted up. "One light—one rock, one light—one rock, one light—one rock." He nodded back at Badger. "Clever—that is why the rocks glow."

Badger himself glowed.

Skunk read the name cards. "Neptunite . . . Ob-sid-ian . . . Pyrite . . ." Then Skunk stepped back and tapped his chin. "Alphabetical! You have arranged the rocks in alphabetical order."

Badger nodded happily. "Rocks displayed alphabetically are so satisfactory. I call it . . ." Badger paused for effect. "My Wall of Rocks."

"Wall of Rocks—nice! The chickens will like your Wall of Rocks," said Skunk.

Badger blinked. "Chickens in my rock room? Again?" Badger remembered with horror the last time chickens had been in his rock room. Chicken coop d'état! But then he thought of the tiny orange hen no bigger than a pencil mug. Hm. He might show Tiny Orange Hen his Wall of Rocks.

Skunk pointed at the empty stand. "Where is A?"

No, no, no, Badger thought. He purposefully did not look.

Skunk took several steps toward the Wall of Rocks and pointed again. "See Badger? Right here you are missing the letter A rock. It is fine to arrange rocks alphabetically, but where is A?"

Forced, Badger looked. The sight of the empty stand sliced through him. He cleared his throat. "Oh, that. Yes. That is for Agate. The, ah, agate was taken." Badger swallowed as he remembered it. Whirls and eyes! Dark, hidden depths! As big as a clenched paw! Badger recalled its coolness when he held it. He used to gaze into it and imagine the birth of Planet Earth. He looked at Skunk. "I called it my Spider Eye Agate."

Skunk frowned. "Are you saying the letter A rock is gone?"

"Stolen, filched, purloined—yes," Badger whispered.

"That is too bad," said Skunk. He paused, then leaned forward and gave Badger a serious look. "Badger, just put an agate up there. Beginnings are important. You cannot leave a hole at the beginning of your Wall of Rocks."

Badger gulped. "Replace my Spider Eye Agate?"

Skunk's eyes widened. "There is only one letter A rock?"

Badger gave a slight nod.

Skunk gaped, then ignited. "There is more than one right letter A rock just like there is more than one right way to roast a cauliflower. Why are there so many bossy cookbooks telling one right way to cook?"

Badger stopped listening—as much as Badger liked to eat (and eat a lot), how food got to his plate was of zero interest. Instead, the memory of how he had lost his Spider Eye Agate plowed through him: Aunt Lula's Big House. The Weasel Family Reunion. The Spider Eye Agate not on his nightstand. Where is it? Where is it? Everything upturned (shoving aside, shaking out, sorting, sorting, sorting). Then Badger heard that voice: "Looking for this?"

Badger had turned and seen his cousin, Fisher, standing in the doorway. Fisher held Badger's Spider Eye Agate in the palm of his paw. Casually, Fisher tossed the agate into the air . . . and caught it. The rock made a smacking sound as it landed in Fisher's paw. Toss, smack. Toss, smack. Badger's heart leapt with every toss, and (smack) felt relief with every catch. "Give it back please," Badger said as calmly as he could manage. He put his paw out.

Toss, smack. Fisher smiled, dropped the agate into the pocket of his school blazer, and raised an eyebrow. "Finders keepers," he said.

Aunt Lula, Badger's favorite aunt, had not understood why Badger had to leave the Weasel Family Reunion early. "You'releavingbecauseofarock? Whataboutyourfamily?"

Fisher! Badger thought.

(Or thought he thought.)

"What did you say?" said Skunk.

Had he spoken out loud? "Nothing, nothing," Badger said.

Skunk narrowed his eyes. "It sounded like 'fish.' I would not eat a fish like I would not eat you."

Badger's head spun. He thought, I might eat a fish.

Skunk waited.

Badger had the vague idea he was supposed to apologize to fish. He changed the subject. "You knocked? Was there something you wanted?"

"Oh yes! Nearly forgot! Funding—I need currency, coins, paper money." Skunk looked at Badger expectantly. "Yaks will not take muffins. I tried."

"Money for yaks?"

"Not for yaks. For a subscription to the Sunday New Yak Times. The situation is no longer tolerable." Skunk nodded as if the matter were decided.

Badger opened his mouth to protest, but Skunk spoke quickly. "Every Sunday I go to Chicken Books for the Sunday New Yak Times, and yet there have been troubles! One time, Chicken Books ran out of Sunday newspapers! Another time, I got a copy of the Sunday New Yak Times, but where is the Book Review? It is not in the folds! I toss section after section aside searching, and what is the point of the Sunday New Yak Times without the Book Review? The New Yak Times Book Review is the best part!" Skunk looked at Badger, his foot tapping rapidly. "There is no choice. We must subscribe." He paused, then muttered, "I do not know why yaks will not take muffins. The best payment is a delicious payment. Everyone knows this."

Badger sighed and glanced with longing at the object on his rock table. The red phenocrysts sparkled enticingly. The first question, rock or mineral, remained unasked! He got to the point. "How much do you need?"

Skunk told him.

Badger readily agreed.

"I am glad that is settled," said Skunk. He grinned at Badger. "You will like the New Yak Times Book Review too. Yaks make the best book reviewers. Is it their shaggy bangs that bring focus? Or is it the hump of nutrients, which allows them to read many books without eating? It is a mystery."

Then, with a spring and a skip, Skunk was at the door. He picked up his whisk, then his spatula, off the floor. "Thin and flippy—more useful than you would think," he said, flexing the spatula. He pocketed both of them in his apron. "I need to water Rocket Potato. Have I mentioned how much Rocket Potato is enjoying the pot on the back porch?" (Rocket Potato was a small potato that had once rocketed from a bowl. Skunk and Badger had planted it.) Skunk did not wait for a reply. He looked at Badger. "Lunch is at noon—exactly at noon." Without another word, Skunk leapt out.

Badger's stomach gurgled. The clock read 11:08, fifty-two minutes to lunch.

Important Rock Work! Badger thought briskly. He walked to his rock table and picked up the unidentified object. "Rock or mineral?"

He turned the object over in his paws, and raised his voice: "Mineral or rock? Rock? Mineral?"

Then he threw the object into the air.

It went up.

It came down.

It landed in his paw. "ROCK!" Badger yelled.

Chapter Two

LUNCH? BADGER HESITATED, THEN STUCK HIS HEAD through the kitchen doorway.


  • A Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of 2021
    A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2021

    “Leaning heavily on its delightfully whimsical qualities, Book 2 of Timberlake and Klassen’s endearing series also boasts a whole lot of heart, perhaps even more so than its predecessor. Even as its often fantastical premise careens over the edge (and thrillingly so), the series’ titular duo keep it grounded thanks to Timberlake’s clear admiration for these characters and their quirks. Klassen’s artwork, meanwhile, continues to awe with its wistfulness. As wonderful as Important Rock Work.”
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    “Timberlake creates an irresistible mix of high stakes, laugh-out-loud moments, and truly unexpected plot twists . . . making for an unforgettable expedition. Klassen’s chapter illustrations . . . further heighten the story’s charm and humor. All told, it’s a wonderful read.”
    Booklist, starred review

    “Quirky, comical . . . Tender and outrageously funny . . . Skunk and Badger return for a thrilling and poignant adventure in this second hilarious title in the series by award-winning duo Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen.”
     —Shelf Awareness, starred review

    “Skunk and Badger are lovely books, beautifully written, often laugh-out-loud funny, a winning combination of science and whimsy, with wondrous, droll, sepia-shaded ink illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.”
    The Buffalo News

    “Author Amy Timberlake has such a fun franchise going with the Skunk and Badger books . . . Clever, smart, and laugh-out-loud funny and exciting at the same time. Her writing is terrific, and the story is compelling. The illustrations by Jon Klassen have just the right sense of fun to them to accompany this terrific story. It’s a good one!”
    Seattle Book Review

    “The clever dialogue and sophisticated humor that characterized the first book will draw readers in, as will the solid (if unconventional) bond that has developed between the two main characters. The action is very exciting . . . Readers who enjoyed the first Skunk and Badger story will welcome this new adventure, and it might be a good fit for fans of classics like The Wind in the Willows or more modern favorites like The Wild Robot.”
    Youth Services Book Review 

    “A tangle of adventure and science, dinosaurs and spelunking and the comeuppance of a criminal . . . Kids might not notice they’re learning while they’re laughing . . . Both boys and girls can enjoy the pandemonium. If you know a kid who loves animals, science, peril, and hilarious tales, they’ll totally dig it.”
    The Bookworm Sez

On Sale
Sep 14, 2021
Page Count
160 pages

Amy Timberlake

Amy Timberlake

About the Author

Amy Timberlake’s novels for young readers have received a Newbery Honor, an Edgar Award, a Golden Kite Award, and the China Times Best Book Award. She grew up in Hudson, Wisconsin, but now calls Chicago home. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. You can find her walking on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail on cool, crisp fall days.

Jon Klassen is a Canadian-born author-illustrator. His books include I Want My Hat BackThis Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal; and We Found A Hat. He is a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to children's literature. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

Learn more about this author