February 2 – Hedgehog Day

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About the Holiday

Sure, sure…I know it’s that other –hog day, but did you know that Hedgehog day was a Roman holiday that preceded Groundhog Day? For you Marmot lovers out there, this is also that little guy’s day. But getting back to our animal of honor, here are a few hedgehog-related trivia facts for you to enjoy:

  • Hedgehog’s spines are actually hollow hairs stiffened with keratin
  • Hedgehogs hunt at night and can smell food an inch below the ground
  • When hedgehogs smell or taste something icky they give themselves a cleansing saliva shower

And one more:

  • Hedgehogs are irresistibly cute!

The Friend Ship

Written by Kat Yeh | Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

 

Little Hedgehog was curled up in a ball of loneliness when she heard someone say that “friendship is out there” if only she would look for it. Hedgehog jumped up ready to search for the Friend Ship that she imagines is full of future buddies. Just as she pounded the last nail into the boat she built to sail the seas, a beaver approached and asked what she is doing. When he found out, he asked to come along because he, too, wants a friend.

Soon they spied a herd of migrating deer atop a cliff and inquired if they had seen the Friend Ship. The deer looked at one another and suddenly missed their pal Irving, so they climbed on board to look for him. Their boat sailed past a little rat fishing all alone. The rat had not seen the Friend Ship either, but asked, “‘pretty please with stinky cheese, can I come?’” “‘Oh, yes!’ said Hedgehog. ‘Double yes!’ said the beaver. ‘Yes!’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Yes-yessity-yes!’ said the deer.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-friend-ship-rat-fishing

Image copyright Chuck Groenink, text copyright Kat Yeh. Courtesy of Disney-Hyperion

They sailed into frigid northern seas, into turbulent southern seas, and “East straight into the sunrise,” but while the intrepid explorers never found the Friend Ship, they discovered plenty of extra travelers who wanted to come along. After a few days, Hedgehog despaired of ever finding what she was looking for. She once more felt like curling up into a prickly ball. “Everyone gathered around her. ‘Don’t give up!’ said the beaver.’” And the others agreed, telling Hedgehog that they would stick with her and that she could count on them.

Cheered by these good wishes, Hedgehog resolved to go on. Within view was a tiny island where a single elephant lived. Hedgehog swam closer and called out, “‘Excuse me. Have you seen the Friend Ship?’” The elephant looked a little confused. “‘The Friend Ship!’” she said. “‘Isn’t that it—right over there?’” Hedgehog turned excitedly to see, but “then sighed. ‘Oh, no. That’s just my…’” Suddenly, in the glow of the sunset she realized… “‘We haven’t tried sailing WEST yet!’” Everyone cheered, knowing that there was still hope. “West! West! West!” they chanted as elephant joined them, and they set sail once again on their journey that in the end brought each and every one of them new friends.

Kat Yeh’s sweet story will cheer kids who feel at sea when looking for new friends. Through Yeh’s multi-layered tale, readers will see that there are many kids “in the same boat,” and that inviting them along on adventures big and small will forge the friendships they are searching for. As Hedgehog’s ship begins to fill with passengers, kids will realize what Hedgehog and her travelers fail to notice and enjoy the suspense that leads up to the final giggle-inducing misunderstanding.

The adorable animals in Chuck Groenink’s beautiful illustrations give The Friend Ship an immediately joyful and upbeat tone that is carried out through the glowing colors, the celebratory welcome each new passenger receives, and the empathy and camaraderie the travelers show Hedgehog when she begins to lose hope. As The Friend Ship sails off into the sunset, readers will happily know that the characters have all found what they were searching for.

The message that children have the power to initiate changes in their life instead of relying on someone else makes The Friend Ship a great book for classroom libraries and home bookshelves.

Ages 4 – 10

Disney-Hyperion, 2016 | ISBN 978-1484707265

Discover more books by Kat Yeh as well as videos and other extras on her website!

You’ll find a gallery of books and illustration work by Chuck Groenink on his website!

Hedgehog Day Activity

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Hedgie and Buddy Coloring Page

 

These two pals have found a new friend! Grab your colored pencils or crayons and give their world some color! You can download the printable Hedgie and Buddy Coloring Page here!

Picture Book Review

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