Happy Hedgehog Day! Yes, it’s a thing. And to celebrate, we’re sharing five of our favourite hedgehog books with you. Usually I like to recommend books still in print, so you can run out and buy them if they take your fancy, but most of these I picked up in charity shops and are only available through third party sellers. But maybe you can track down a copy, or try your luck at your local library. So, clockwise starting from the top:
- The Happy Hedgehog Band, by Martin Waddell (author) & Jill Barton – Deep in the heart of Dickon Wood lived a happy hedgehog named Harry. And another called Helen. And Norbert. And Billy. And they all love music, so they form a band and make some noise – until the other animals in the wood tell them to stop. But why? This sweet story is a celebration of noise, and my three year old loves joining in with all the noise words. All together now: tum-tum-te-tum, diddle-diddle-dum, ratta-tat-tat, BOOM!
- The Happy Hedgehog, by Marcus Pfister – Another happy hedgehog, but this time without a band. This hedgehog is called Mikko, and he loves his garden. He knows every flower and herb and weed by name, and what their healing powers are. But his grandfather thinks Mikko is just wasting his time, loitering around his garden all day, and tells him to accomplish something important and take a look at how others lead their lives. So Mikko sets out, and meets a tortoise training to be the fastest, a badger training to be the strongest, and a hare memorising facts to become the smartest. But Mikki thinks they all look miserable, and decides to head home to his garden where he is always happy. And who should be waiting there, but his grandfather, who has developed a nasty cough. Maybe Mikko and his healing plants aren’t such a waste of time after all. A lovely story that shows there is more to life than simply just being ‘the best’ all the time. There’s quite a bit of text, so maybe suited best to slightly older children. My seven year old loved it, and it was a good talking point too about what makes us happy.
- The Very Helpful Hedgehog, by Rosie Wellesley – This is one we borrowed from the library, and it actually is still in print. Isaac is a hedgehog who likes being alone (are you loving all the hedgehog names, by the way?), until the day an apple gets stuck on his spines and he realises that maybe it’s not so bad after all to have some friends! Who would have thought hedgehogs could teach us so many life lessons.
- Hedgehog for Breakfast, by Ann Turner (author) & Lisa McCue (illustrator) – This is another charity shop find. Disappointingly, the protagonist is just called ‘Mrs Hedgehog’ (I was getting used to all these great hedgehog names), but other than that the premise is brilliant. It all hinges on a misunderstanding and double meaning of words, which start when Papa Fox tells his sons Charles and George he would “like to have Mrs Hedgehog for breakfast.” The little foxes think she won’t taste very good, but nonetheless set out to get her over to the foxes’ house, then proceed to try and cook her, roast her, and bake her. Meanwhile, Mrs Hedgehog is blissfully unaware of their intentions, and is enjoying having a bath, drying off over the fire, and getting warm inside the oven. Will there be a happy ending for Mrs Hedgehog? Did Charles and George maybe get the wrong end of the stick? Find out! My seven year old loves this, and is old enough to understand the nuances of the misunderstanding. My three year old just loves all the animals.
- The Story of Fuzzypeg the Hedgehog, by Alison Uttley (author) & Margaret Tempest (illustrator) – And, finally, we finish with another hedgehog sporting a brilliant name (though Norbert is I think my favourite name from this roundup of hedgehog protagonists). We got our copy of this book second hand, but it’s actually still in print. The story follows little Fuzzypeg, who has just turned one, on his adventures. He celebrates his birthday, rolls eggs down a hill with his friends, watches in admiration as his daddy kills a snakes, learns how to play noughts and crosses with Hare. One his way back from delivering a cake to Speckledy Hen, he ends up getting trapped under a flower pot in someone’s garden. Will his friends manage to rescue him in time? (Spoiler: of course they will). It’s a very cute little story, that will especially appeal to younger children, and the illustrations are beautiful.
Do you have any other favourite hedgehog books recommend? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.
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