Hedgehogs! Our whole family loves them (almost as much as those adorable sloths!) Lisa re-invigorated our interest and we couldn’t resist dipping back into a favorite family readaloud from 30 years ago: the delightful Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. But as always, there are more books to engage the whole family in this flight about a curious and interesting creature. Enjoy!
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter
If you haven’t read any of Beatrix Potters’ classics, none better to start with than this charming tale first published in 1905. A little girl named Lucie has lost her pocket handkerchiefs, and wanders high into the hills, discovering a little hidden home. When she knocks on the door, she finds a little woman who does all the laundry for the neighborhood animals, washing and ironing their “garments.” After spending a lovely day helping Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Lucie discovers that the laundress is indeed a hedgehog! But was it true–or was it all a dream? Enjoy the lyrical text and beautiful illustrations Potter’s readers have come to love. A fine introduction to the hedgehogs in literature for the whole family!
Infants and Toddlers:
The New Arrival by Vanya Nastanlieva
Sam the hedgehog is on a quest for two important things: a home and a friend. Home, a lovely hollow at the base of a tree, is discovered quickly, but a friend proves more difficult to find. He looks everywhere, but can’t see the wealth of possibilities around him–though we as readers are treated to clues through the lovely illustrations. After a bit, Sam decides to post notices reading “Wanted: A Friend. Hedgehog at the Hollow Tree,” using his quills to tack them to trees. Soon, not only is he still friendless, he is bald to boot. Happily, the other animals welcome him to the woodland and give him a knitted pullover (called a jumper here) to keep him warm until his quills grow back. Lots of cute animals and heart-warming moments in this sweet book.
Pre-K through Grade 2
Hedgehogs: Amazing Pictures and Facts About Hedgehogs by Breanne Sartori
Non-fiction books can be a great complement to the literary delights of any subject. This slim book brings to light a lot of interesting information about the hedgehog, like: how many spines they have, where they live, what they eat, all about the hedgehogs snout, how they defend themselves–and from whom, and more. . . Dig in!
Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett
Who doesn’t love Jan Brett’s picture books? Her illustrations are charming without being sentimental, and her writing is appealing to readers and young audience alike. This story, set in Denmark, is filled with needlepoint patterns of Scandinavian designs that frame the characters reacting from the borders. Such a cool idea–and invites rereadings to pore over the pictures and meaning. Hedgie the hedgehog stars in this tale Hedgie stars about a little Tomten (ancient gnome) who gets tired of porridge for breakfast and starts stealing Henny’s eggs. But Henny wants a brood of chicks, so she enlists Hedgie’s help to trick the Tomten. She substitutes an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom and finally a potato in her nest. But nothing stops that Tomten until the little hedgehog hides in Henny’s nest: when the Tomten reaches in to get his morning treat, all he gets is a handful of prickles! This one is a great addition to your home library.
The Very Helpful Hedgehog by Rose Wellesley
Isaac is a sweet little hedgehog–and like Sam (above), doesn’t seem to have friends. One day, an apple falls from a tree, and you guessed it–sticks in his prickles. Alone, he can’t get the apple off–but help comes in the form of a donkey–who becomes a new friend. A delightful story about being open to surprising new friendships.
Darcy the Flying Hedgehog by Shota Tsukamoto
Darcy, named after the bassist for the The Smashing Pumkins, this cute and definitely, well, spiky, pet hedgehog became a genuine social media phenomenon. The author/photographer/owner started photographing his little friend throughout her day–and night. You’ll see Darcy basking in her owner’s hand, posing with a pineapple, pinecone or cactus, hiding from toy soldiers or snoozing fitfully. And readers of all ages will love the print, in both English and (mostly) Japanese. For more information, you can check out the the Instagram photos.
Hedgehog in the Fog by Yuri Norstein, illustrated by Francesca Yarbusoba
This special book was created on the basis of a famous Russian cartoon by Norstein and Yarbusova. The film of this story came first–30 years ago. In 2003, an international film jury in Tokyo declared ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ to be the best animated film of all time. It is about the adventures of the philosophical little Hedgehog on his way to meet with his friend Bear. Along the way Hedgehog enters into a mysterious fog in which he encounters a horse, a dog, an owl, and a fish. The illustrations are phenomenal: Francesca Yarbusoba is an award-winning artist, the wife and collaborator of Yuri Norstein. Exhibitions of her artworks successfully showed in museums in Russia, France, Japan, and beyond. She is the recipient of the Great Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Fine Art. So enjoy hedgehogs through the artistic integrity of this fine little book.
Teens and Adults:
The Hedgehog’s Dilemma: A Tale of Obsession, Nostalgia,and the World’s Most Charming Mammal by Hugh Warwick
Hugh Warwick is an environmental writer and photographer. Readers are fortunate that he turned his considerable talents to an exploration of the relationship between the hedgehog and man, and how the hedgehog became so beloved. It’s a combination of memoir, nature study, and environmental investigation, all written with fascinating details and philosophical thoughts on human’s relationship to the world of nature. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable light and interesting read that was peppered with Warwick’s wry sense of humor as he described everything from chasing hedgehogs across the English countryside as an undergradute biologist to his introduction to the American Hedgehog Olympics. A perfect companion to the stunning array of available hedgehog picture books. Enjoy!