8 Jan 2011


Dedicated to author DICK KING-SMITH who sadly died at the age of 88 on the 5th of January 2011. 
A life member of the BRITISH HEDGEHOG PROTECTION SOCIETY (BHPS), I'm passionate about these prickly little fellows and like to spread the message whenever I can.
Erinaceus in Latin. Most of us know what the 'British' hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) looks like - smallish mammal, one inch long spines (some 5,000 to 7,000 of them) covering its back and sides though not the face, throat, chest, belly or legs, has a tail (bet you didn't know that), curls up into a ball at the first sign of danger, has a noisy sex life (so I'm reliably informed) I could go on giving you loads of 'hoggy' information but will leave you in the capable hands of the BHPS for some more GENERAL INFORMATION including what hedgehogs eat (certainly NOT milk and bread) and some of the ever-present dangers (garden ponds and slug pellets included).

But being mainly a book blog, what of the hedgehog in literature?

Perhaps the most famous hedgehog of all MRS TIGGY-WINKLE by Beatrice Potter. The story of a hedgehog who happens to be a washerwoman  and a child named Lucie who deliver freshly washed laundry to the animals in the neighbourhood.

Then, of course, there is that awful bit in Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland (click HERE to read on-line) in which the Queen Of Hearts plays a game of croquet using a flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as a ball:-

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 flamingos, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.

But going even further back in time, did you know that Shakespeare mentions hedgehogs in ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ where he refers to them as ‘hedgepigs’ and ‘urchins’, grouping them with 'other nasty and vile creatures':-

"You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, not be seen;
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong;
Come not near our Fairy Queen."

And then, probably less well-known, I have these wonderful children's books in my collection:-

  • Prickly Pig - Gillian McClure
  • The Hedgehog - Eye-View Library
  • The Tale Of Anabelle Hedgehog - Stephen Lawhead
  • The Happy Hedgehog Band - Martin Waddell
  • Spike And The Cowboy Band - John Patience
  • One Rainy Day - M Christina Butler (Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton)
  • The Hodgeheg - Dick King-Smith
  • The Prickly Hedgehog - Forest Folk Tales.
  • The Adventures of Hadrian Hedgehog - Candida Lycett Green and Christopher Thynne.
So, can you recommend any other books with hedgehogs as characters? OR do you collect any animal books? Do let us know.


chitra said...

I too love this small pricklies, I learnt about them in my zoology class. This is not an inhabitant of India. May the warm weather doesn't suit little fellow.

Arti said...

I had started reading three men in a boat by jerome k jerome, but left it after reading a few pages as could not understand anything!!! Quite a bit of old english was used in the book...

Jen said...

What a fun list! I admit to collecting some rabbit books, because I share my house with 5 of them. :)

Su said...

I don't, to either, but I did get an adorable ceramic hedgehog for Christmas years ago that sits on my bookshelf! :)

Suko said...

I loved Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle as a child--and still do. I really can't add to your list.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw... so cute. Can't think of any to add. I've always loved the little cartoon versions of the critters. :)

awitchtrying said...

The first animal book that pooped into my head was Watership Down. Wonderful!

Heather said...

can't think of any others with hedgehogs. I don't collect books with any particular animal unless it's men who are wearing kilts.

Kelly said...

Of course I was familiar with Beatrix Potter, but I had no idea there were so many stories about hedgehogs out there!!

Misha said...

I have read Beatrice Potter's book but I had no idea there were so many other books too!

Betty Manousos said...

Looks like a fun list.
I enjoy reading animal books on the emotional life of animals. Dogs Never Lie About Love by J. Masson would be a great choice.

Have a good Sunday!

Big hugs!
B xx

The Bookworm said...

nice post!
interesting that even Shakespeare had them in his works.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Really neat! I think there is a playstation game called Sonic the Hedgehog. :) My son plays it once in a while. :) Hope you are all doing well and had a wonderful new year!

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any others. As soon as I saw the word hedgehogs I thought of Beatrix Potter.
I have some translated Japanese fairy tales and have never seen a hedgehog in them. XD

Anonymous said...

That above is me. I didn't mean to be anonymous. XD

Unknown said...

I'm actually looking for help finding a hedgehog children's book from at least 40 years ago. Can't find it on children's book sites or Amazon. The story is about a very shy hedgehog with a kerchief on her head that has no friends. When she meets people, she curls up into a ball so they can barely see her. But it's also a counting story as she works up the courage to find friends and by the end she has 10 or so.

I've tried searching on 'shy hedgehog' and 'Harriet the Hedgehog' (which may or may not have been her name) but both turn up other books with different characters. Does this story ring a bell for anyone? The artwork was great and I'd like to find this for someone.