Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, February 2, 2012


If you read my February 2nd post last year, you may remember that hedgehogs have everything to do with what we Americans call "Groundhog Day" and the simultaneously occurring Christian celebration of "Candlemas" (last year's post is HERE).
Paper sculpture by Canadian artist, Calvin Nicholls [photo source here]
This year, I thought it would be fun to remind you of some famous literary hedgehogs.  As you will see, they show up quite often in British children's literature...

Hedgehogs were an intricate part of Alice's game of croquet:
"Get to your places!" shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder... and the game began. Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
illustration by Sir John Tenniel
from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.

American author/artist Jan Brett's Picture Books: 
Have you noticed who's wearing The Hat?  Hedgie also shows up in Jan's books The Mitten, and Hedgie's Surprise.  Her website has some easy instructions on "How to Draw a Hedgehog".

Hedgehogs often show up in the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques:
These prickly beasts come from all walks of life, from warriors to cooks to riverbeasts. They are typically easy-going and friendly, though a few have been known to become eccentric or insane in old age. Many Hedgehogs come from a clan or tribe, such as the Dillypins or Waterhogs, and it is traditional (though not exclusive) for the cellarkeeper of Redwall Abbey to be a hedgehog. [source: Redwall Wiki]
Note: British author Brian Jacques died last year on February 5th.  His wonderful series was a family favorite.  To read my short tribute, click here.

Hedgehogs can do laundry. 
Well, at least Beatrix Potter's "Mrs. Tiggywinkle" could.  (She is probably my favorite hedgehog.)

Water Color Artist, Valerie Greeley...
I'll leave you with this cute little hedgehog, by Valerie Greeley. You can buy the print here from her Etsy shop, Acornmoon. The print is a reproduction of a water color illustration from her children's book, Down the Lane.  Another picture book by Valerie featuring hedgehogs is Field Animals.  (Both books - though currently out of print - are available on Amazon.)
Hedgehog, by Valerie Greeley


  1. Thanks for the mention! We have a little family of hedgehogs in our garden here in England but they are getting rarer. Modern gardens with fences and decking make for a hostile environment. If more people understood that hedgehogs are gardener's friends, -they eat slugs and snails, maybe they would create wildlife corridors for them?

    1. I traveled to England with my family when I was just out of high school. I'll never forget seeing a hedgehog during an evening walk my dad and I took around our friends' neighborhood. As we passed by, the little furry fellow was just shuffling into some huge bushes (I believe you call them "hedgerows") bordering a beautiful house and garden. Sad to hear there aren't as many these days.

  2. Mrs. Tiggywinkle has always been my favorite. My kids loved those Jan Brett books when they were younger. She even has some hedgie cross stitch patterns on her website.

    Found you via Pinterest. So glad I did!

    1. I'm glad we found each other. Your blog is lovely! :)

  3. Hi Wendy,
    I do love your blog, I've just discovered it but it is a real treasure. Congrats!