Badger on the Barge

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable → Positive

In Brief: The stories seem intended to highlight the tensions surrounding a young adolescent. No age is mentioned, but 13 or 14 would make sense in most cases.

Cover of Badger on the Barge

Author: Janni Howker

Age Range: Young Teens

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  Growing-UpShort


A series of 5 short stories, each portraying an adolescent coming to terms with a situation. In “Badger on the Barge” Helen's older brother has died in an accident and her father can't come to terms with it. Helen befriends an old lady on a barge who loves animals, and she helps the lady escape from hospital. In “Reicker”, set in the Lakes, two boys torment the former German POW, now shepherd. They are all then involved in the capture of one of the locals who has become unbalanced and has killed his wife. In “The Egg Man” two girls start to mock a bewlidered old man who lives in a ramshackle cottage, but then feel sorry for him and go to visit him, this visit ending with his believing one of the girls to be his dead wife and trying to pet her. “Jakey” is an old boatman, whose affection is fought over by two boys, one traveller and one townie both of whose fathers are in gaol. The last story, “The Topiary Garden” sees Liz being taken to the motorcycle meetings her father and brother enjoy and meeting an old lady who tells of how she masqueraded as a boy when young to get a job as a gardener, maintaining the deception until accused of fathering the child of one of the housemaids.

Tuesday 1st January 2002