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Hedgie Blasts Off! Hardcover – September 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3–Hedgie the hedgehog is back. Aspiring to become an astronaut, he works as a member of the cleanup crew for the Star Lab run by the Professor (a dog), who is the smartest scientist on Earth and in charge of Outer Space. On the tiny planet of Mikkop, an erupting crater called the Big Sparkler, a popular tourist attraction, is inexplicably slowing down. The Professor orders his team to build a small spaceship that can carry a robotic astronaut into space to assess the problem. When the robot malfunctions, Hedgie is the only one who can fit into the vehicle, and off he zooms. Bretts color illustrations are filled with humorous details, including eager reporters (an owl, a flamingo, a toucan, and a cockatoo, whose postures convey their avid impatience) and whimsical spaceships filled with comical alien tourists. Small groups can easily view the richly hued art, although many scenes merit closer inspection. Children will cheer for this intrepid hedgehog as he solves the problem of the plugged crater.–Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Hedgie the hedgehog loves heading the cleanup crew at Star Lab, but he longs to be an astronaut. The lab's scientists are concerned about Big Sparkler, an outer-space, volcano-like formation that has stopped emitting sparks that cause beautiful gardens to grow on its planet. When the lab's robot is damaged, Hedgie, who fits neatly into the lab's pint-size rocket, undertakes a mission to investigate. Ingenious Hedgie successfully restores Big Sparkler, which was damaged by space tourists. The setup is a bit clumsy, but, as usual, Brett's exquisite artwork will easily draw children's interest, particularly in scenes of underdog, child-size Hedgie soaring triumphantly through the beautifully imagined depths of outer space. One nagging question about the animal character groupings: Why are all the dogs scientists; the journalists birds; and Hedgie, the only hedgehog, an astronaut? Teachers may want to use this as a starting point for discussions of how humans impact the environment. For aspiring astronauts, pair this with Faith McNulty's fact-filled If You Decide to Go to the Moon (2005). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246210
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jan Brett is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gingerbread Friends, The Three Snow Bears, and The Mitten, as well as many other classics. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Hoehler on January 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
We love Jan Brett's books. I ordered this one without reading through it first simply because it was about Hedgie and it was by Brett. My 4 yr old son likes rocket and space stories, and my daughter learned all about Jan Brett in kindergarten (including the fact that she has a pet hedgehog!). This story, however, was just plain bizarre. It didn't make a lot of sense. I found myself editorializing as I read it to them. Don't get me wrong, we love silly, goofy, imaginative stories, but this wasn't even particularly fun. And unfortunately, the pictures weren't nearly as clever or detailed as her other works. Sorry. :(
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amy Aldrich on December 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Hedgie Blasts off is a cute book about Hedgie the hedgehog, whose greatest dream is becoming an Astronaut. Currently Hediei works on the clean-up crew for Star Lab (run by a dog Professor who is in charge of Outer Space no less). As we join the story The Professor is telling Hedgie to call in all the scientists, they've got a problem with the Big Sparkler and they MUST do something about it right away! The scientist work and work and build a Rescue Robot to send out to fix the problem...but come the day of the launch Rescue Robot seems to have probed too soon (winding up in the storage closet). It's up to Hedgie to save the day and travel out to the Big Sparkler and assess the problem. Will he be able to determine what's happened to make the Big Sparkler stop working? You'll have to read to find out!

Overall, this is a charming little story about never giving up on your dreams because they may come true in unexpected and unusual ways! This cute little tale is enhanced greatly by the vivid and colorful artwork that will give kids something extra to do...as it's so rich and full of detail that readers will want to pause and really get a good look at all the detail before moving on to the next page! I give it five stars, this is an excellent story book for young readers and would make a fine read aloud for ages 0-4 and an excellent beginner book for your budding reader (ages 4-6). Kids over age 6 will probably be enthralled by the art, but the story will probably not be of much interest to them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is intended for children up to about seven years old or so. It is the story of Hedgie, the first hedgehog to go into outer space. He is normally the caretaker of the Zeppadoppler rocket created by his boss, "The Professor," who is "in charge of outer space." It transpires that an underground seltzerwater vent ("The Big Sparkler") on the planet Mikkop frequented by alien tourists has ceased functioning and Hedgie is sent to unclog the vent in a rather novel way, after a brief fracas with the press corps (which appears to be composed of a toucan, a cockatoo, a flamingo, and an owl.)

The book is great for young kids, even though it is not especially educational about space or science, it still requires thought and could contribute to subsequent interest in these areas. The book is nicely made and I especially found the fold out page and glitter on the cover to be nice and captivating touches for young kids. The situations and characters are absorbing and the artwork is well done; I recommend this book for all future astronauts up through about third grade.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hedgielover on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was delighted to find a Jan Brett book for my nieces that I had not seen before. I am a big fan of her illustrations and love it when her sidebar illustrations tell a mini story that even the youngest reader can follow. They are so much fun to read to children.

I am also a lover of hedgehogs and collect her books that feature them just for the illustrations. I hate to give her a rating of less than 5.

However, this story was very poorly thought out. It didn't seem to make a lot of sense. The five-year old I was reading to, who is normally quite engaged in books, sat there with her eyes glazed over and her three-year-old sister actually ran off. Their mother and I were almost embarassed to be presenting this story to them. Next time we'll just make up a story to go with the pictures. If there is a next time...

I love Jan Brett, but she should stick to what she does best and get some help with the writing!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lydia M. Netzer on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Is anyone better than Jan Brett? No. Jan Brett is awesome. Her illustrations are over-the-top great. Unmatched. Superb. In this book, Hedgie (of _Hedgie's Surprise_) returns to go on an outer space adventure. The story isn't exactly Moby Dick, friends, but who cares? The hedgehog gets to go to space and everyone learns a fine lesson about not throwing things in fountains. My favorite thing about the illustrations in this one is how all the scientists are dogs, all the reporters are birds... and how these species take on their roles without anyone mentioning it or noticing it. I just love that -- it reminds me of her _Comet's Nine Lives_ which I really liked. This book is very cute. The kids love it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just about every book Jan Brett has written including the ones she just illustrated. This one is a break from her usual style. I'm sure it would be good for children who love the space themed stories. The illustrations are good. But, I miss the sub-story so often included in Brett's page margins. These are just regularly illustrated pages.

If you are a collector of her books, like I am, you will need this for your collection. But, if you are just buying books for the best illustrations and story lines, stick to her other books like THE MITTEN, THE UMBRELLA, TROUBLE WITH TROLLS, etc. I will be looking forward to her next book and hoping it's a return to her regular, wonderful style.
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