Badger is throwing a party and his guests are asked "to bring something." The limitless nature of the word "something" dumbfounds Mole. Moreover he feels that he has nothing to share nor the time to make anything. Mole arrives at the party bringing only himself. All the other creatures who live in this English glade-Rat, Weasel, Frog, Field Mouse, Bat, etc. find the time and imagination to bring something to the party. Looking at his friends' contributions, Mole realizes that he does have something to share-himself. Hiawyn Oram's sweetly -paced text gently reassures young children of the special talents we each possess. Susan Varley enchantingly depicts partying field animals. Her characteristic watercolors illuminate the appealing message of this tale.
In "Badger's Parting Gifts" (1984), Varley wrote and illustrated a beautifully restrained picture book about Badger's death and the comfort his grieving friends found in their memories of him. Oram's "Badger's Bring Something Party" also succeeds, but to a lesser extent and on a smaller scale. This prequel concerns a "Bring Something Party" Badger gives for his friends. When Mole protests that he has nothing to bring, Badger reassures him that he can just bring himself. At the party, Mole's gloom and guilt over arriving empty-handed spoil his mood until Badger convinces him that he has much to contribute by becoming more outgoing and sharing his intangible gifts with others. Varley's appealing line-and-watercolor paintings recall the landscape and the animal characters of "The Wind in the Willows". At times the text seems a bit heavy-handed in making its point. However, the lesson is a gentle one that many parents will want to share with their children, who will certainly identify with Mole and enjoy his triumph in the end.