The Hedge­hog Who Said Who Cares?

  • Review
By – June 3, 2024

This pic­ture book is a spin on the Tal­mu­dic tale in which a self­ish man throws stones from his own prop­er­ty onto a com­mu­nal road. A hedge­hog with a perky, turned-up snout has built a dirt mound that is block­ing his neigh­bors’ path. When Rab­bi and Mouse com­plain, he retorts that it is his house, that he likes it just that way. Then, when his earth­en home wash­es away after a three-day down­pour and he him­self is floun­der­ing in the mud, he cries out to them for help. His neigh­bors not only hold out a branch to res­cue him, but, to his sur­prise, Mouse even invites Hedge­hog over to dry off inside. At the end of the book, Hedge­hog plants flow­ers along the path they all share.

With short, rhyming stan­zas and live­ly dia­logue, the book will appeal to younger chil­dren. The col­or­ful, dou­ble-spread illus­tra­tions offer breezi­ly drawn details for chil­dren to notice, such as par­tial­ly unpacked box­es inside Hedgehog’s cozy bur­row and many insects and birds in the out­door scenes. How­ev­er, the occa­sion­al lack of con­ti­nu­ity between the illus­tra­tions can be con­fus­ing. For exam­ple, one spread shows a sin­gle house; the next has two against the same back­ground of hills.

All in all, this is a cute book that will teach read­ers about shar­ing our plan­et with each other.

Sharon Elswit, author of The Jew­ish Sto­ry Find­er and a school librar­i­an for forty years in NYC, now resides in San Fran­cis­co, where she shares tales aloud in a local JCC preschool and vol­un­teers with 826 Valen­cia to help stu­dents write their own sto­ries and poems.

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