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A Skunk in the House

by Constance Taber Colby

Bringing a new baby home is a memorable occasion--especially when the baby disappears behind the washing machine and steadfastly refuses to come out. One furious little skunk, acquired from a pet shop, took up residence under the Colbys' washer and launched the family into a series of unexpected, often hilarious adventures which Constance Taber Colby relates in this delightful book. The story of Secret--a name the family decided on after long debate--is told with sensitivity and affection; the reader shares the Colbys' excitement as they follow the little creature's step-by-step acceptance of, and affection for, his family. Secret, however, had his own ideas about training--training them--and soon the Colby household, whether in its Manhattan apartment or at Stillmeadow Farm, was geared to his routine. With unwavering determination Secret turned his environment into a proper habitat for a skunk. He forged his own trails through the house and chose his own favorite places for napping. He followed a rigid daily schedule and even initiated games and play periods with the single-mindedness of a cruise director. A Skunk in the House, an intriguing portrait of an unconventional pet, also reveals a charming family sharing the joys--and the sorrows--of daily life. More than that, Constance Taber Colby has produced a clear-eyed account of what happens when man comes in close contact with nature--nature in the form of one stubborn, instinct-governed, and quite amiable but untamable animal. Life with a skunk, with its odd surprises and unexpected lessons, is a humbling experience, Mrs. Colby admits, as four humans learned to adjust to--and respect--the integrity of a wild creature. Constance, daughter of Gladys Taber, studied historical linguistics at the University of Michigan and Columbia, and archaeology at the National University of Mexico. She has taught at a number of universities and colleges and most recently at Barnard. Mrs. Colby, her husband, and two daughters divide their time between Stillmeadow Farm in Connecticut and an apartment in New York City.

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