What does one do while one hops BACK in the car to drive BACK to the L.A. area after spending way too much time hopping in cars and driving around said area in the past few months? One brings a book to read, of course.
Yesterday, those of us in our family who could drove to Los Angeles to attend my son’s final showcase for his Bachelor of Fine Arts program. It’s a three-hour drive from our house to L.A., so being stuck in the car means… you got it, reading and writing! Since I had a book review due, I didn’t even have to deliberate over books. Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole was kind of a short book for such a long trip, but considering I was going down to crime central, I figured a book about “stranger danger” was probably a perfect choice, no? But hedgehogs? THAT I had to see.
Note: links are likely affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested and received a free review copy of this book and chose to share my thoughts on it.
Are Hedgehogs Immune to Stranger Danger?
Told in a whimsical style, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is a cautionary tale about trusting people just because they do nice things for you. The book opens strong and with that hint of ominous warning of what’s to come, and ends with a nice happily-ever-after. Adorable, colorful illustrations accompany the text, and the size is perfect for the chapter book it was designed to be.
I do have a couple of quibbles.
First, Darling’s obsession with “doing something nice” for someone who gave her a gift didn’t ring true for me. Very few children I’ve ever met would be so dogged about essentially “paying for” a gift by doing something for the giver. Most of the book is a quest to find just the right thing to thank Miss Fox for her gift. It dragged out the story and bogged it down in the middle.
Additionally, the author states that she originally planned it as a picture book and received advice to make it a chapter book. I think I might have offered the same advice as written, but looking at it as a final product, trimmed and tightened a bit, it would have been a perfect picture book. I’m not sure how many second or third graders will be captivated by a story concept we usually associate with younger children.
For the persnickety, there are a couple of typos in the hardcopy. Personally, I imagine children in the targeted age group enjoying finding them, but there you have it.
Recommended for youngsters who read far above their age level and as a picture book for younger children with longer attention spans. You could always skip half the middle where Darling searches and searches for some way to repay Miss Fox for her gift.
About the Book
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Genre: Early reader chapter book
Release Date: September 13, 2019
Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.
Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.
This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discreet, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.