Skunk on a String, by Thao Lam; Owl Kids Books, $18.95, 40 pages, ages 2-6.
This wordless picture book about a high-flying skunk is a surprisingly adorable tale about overcoming adversity and prejudice. Young readers will adore following the hapless critter as he tries to enlist Good Samaritans to untie him from the tail of a balloon. Instead, he’s shoved away–he is a skunk, after all–and he floats above a parade, over a zoo, and even under water. Eventually, the skunk is released from his aerial bondage, only to realize he rather enjoyed the high life. Thao Lam’s charming paper collage art in a dizzying array of spots, stripes, and polka dots evoke a bustling cityscape. (Readers may recognize Lam’s art from Cricket and Highlights magazines, where she’s a regular contributor.) Skunk on a String is a subtle riff on the old adage, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” without uttering a word.