If you are looking for sweet and colorful kids’ books about sharing, Ashlyn Anstee’s Hedgehog will truly hog the spotlight. What could be more adorable than a grumpy, most-likely only child hedgehog? Before I get trolled, I suggest this character description lovingly and half-jokingly as an only child myself.
A Story About A Hedge Hog (Spelled Correctly, I Promise)
With winter fast approaching, the backyard garden animals are hustling to find indoor homes. Our protagonist, Eugene the Hedgehog, is fortunately safe and warm in the garden hedges. Below him and to his dismay, grasshopper also has secured digs. Librarian confession here: I Goggled “what is the habitat of a hedgehog.” I care about accurate representation. Boo my English and History double major. Hedgehogs do live in the hedges, obviously.
With Eugene nestled in for the season with his apple pie on the stove and cute “Home is where the hog is” decorations, he could give two hogs about anyone else’s troubles. While some garden creatures have an easy in—like the possums and the foxes..wait, I might need to Google this one too—not everyone has a pal to shack up with. This is a kids’ picture book—you know what I mean. Even with many doorbell rings and desperate knocks, Eugene refuses to share his home. He turns away all insects and critters in his neighborhood. As our selfish fellow slams the door, builds a fence, and starts bringing pieces of his hedge inside, Eugene suddenly realizes that he has destroyed his house. Self-sabotage can be a hog’s worst enemy.
Luckily for Eugene, his fellow garden roommates are much more tolerant and forgiving. With head down and runaway satchel, Eugene trudges to grasshopper’s home, the equivalent of a MTV Crib. The animals welcome Eugene in for the winter just as the snow begins to fall. Moved by such kindness, Eugene shares his pie and begins to embrace his community.
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A Heart-Swelling, Sweetly Illustrated Children’s Picture Book With Animals
I am always a fan of Tundra Books, as they seem to pick moral stories with endearing characters and down to earth illustrations. Hedgehog is no different. Anstee uses colored-pencils and watercolors to paint a vibrant garden community with adorable characters. The warm colors transport readers to the fall into the winter, and hedgehogs’ expressions will make you laugh. He is dramatic, at times. Like a comic book, characters talk in bubbles. Aptly scattered throughout the pages, the short sentenced narrative is easy to read and follow.
Hedgehog will grab the attention of preschoolers to 2nd graders and is the perfect example of a kids’ book about sharing. Hedgehog learns compassion and about embracing the diverse community. Overall, Hedgehog made me laugh and made my heart swell.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Tundra Books for providing me with a free copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Hedgehog by Ashlyn Anstee [Tundra Books 2018]
Genre: Children’s picture book with animals; sharing
Ashlyn Anstee is a Canadian-American author. You can see her other work and cute illustrations here.
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