Skip to main content

Hedgehog's Magic Tricks by Ruth Paul

I love hedgehogs, especially in pictures books. I think this goes back to a book I had as a very young child, Miss Jaster's Garden by N. M. Bodecker. All apologies to Ruth Paul and her charming debut picture book, but I have to take a moment here to share this memorable, out of print book with you. Miss Jaster's Garden might as well have been a fairy tale filled with magic for all my little mind could comprehend when I read it as a kid in San Jose, CA. I had no idea that there could be houses by the ocean with flower gardens and paths and hedgehogs wandering around! And, as a kid who has worn glasses since the age of six, I could relate to the near-sighted, glasses wearing Miss Jaster who mistakenly sprinkles the seeds for a new flowerbed over the napping hedgehog. Flowers grow on Hedgie's back and he even has the chance to admire himself in a puddle. But, the poor old, half-blind Miss Jaster sees the traveling bouquet that Hedgie has become and calls the police. A mad chase ensues (the endpapers of Miss Jaster's Garden have maps of Miss Jaster's estate) and ends happily with tea in the garden and a saucer of milk for Hedgie. Who knew hedgehogs like milk? So many wondrous things for my little mind to take in... Besides being a truly great story that kids will never forget, Bodecker's illustrations are as lovely as a spring bloom with fine lines and gentle watercolors that bring this enchanting, silly story to life. If you EVER see this book for sale anywhere, buy it. I guarantee you there is or will be a child in your life who will cherish this book the way I do mine.
So, back to Ruth Paul and her adorable new book, Hedgehog's Magic Tricks. I get excited every time I see a picture book with a hedgehog as even a minor character (which they are usually relegated to being, who knows why?) But, in Paul's book, Hedgehog is the star of the show, although his show doesn't quite go as planned. 

Making Mouse disappear doesn't quite work. Pulling Rabbit out of a hat goes a little better, but not with out a tug or two on the ear. A few more failed magic tricks later, Hedgehog's friends help him out with his by coming up with a trick of their own. A big "Abracadabra!" reveals the prettiest cake I have seen in a picture book in a long time. In fact, I think cake in picture books has to be my second favorite thing after hedgehogs, so in my humble opinion, Hedgehog's Magic Tricks is a big, big hit!

Source: Review Copy

Other picture book hedgehogs I am quite fond of...

Cheer Up, Mouse! by Jed Henry

The Quiet Book and The Loud Book written by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska

The Red Wagon by Renata Liwska

Of course, the fantastic Jan Brett always has hedgehogs in her books, even when they aren't the stars!

And, perhaps one of the first picture book hedgehogs, Beatrix Potter's Mrs. Tiggy Winkle.


Jenny said…
What is it about hedgehogs? I love them too!!
Tanya said…
Prickly on the outside, soft on the inside? That's what does it for me...

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…