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The Happy Hedgehog Paperback – February 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mikko, a content young hedgehog, confirms his convictions and teaches his grumbling grandpa a lesson in Pfister's long-winded story. When Grandfather Tarek finds his grandson laying in the little fellow's beloved garden, he declares, "The youth of today are simply useless," and urges Mikko to "take advantage of your youth to accomplish something important so you will be happy!" So Mikko ventures out into the world and comes upon some single-minded, determined animals, including a tortoise training to be fastest in the world and a hare memorizing everything his teacher says, even though he doesn't understand a word of it. Predictably, Mikko observes that while these other creatures "were striving, they weren't enjoying life at all." Mikko returns home pleased with his life just as it is. When his grandfather comes to visit with a cough, Mikko cures it with tea made from the healing herbs in his garden, and Tarek suddenly appreciates his grandson. Pfister's artwork lacks the pizzazz of his Rainbow Fish books, though the spare, genial paintings of creatures on the run offer some comic relief. Unfortunately, the rather heavy-handed message here overpowers the story. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-Mikko loves to observe the world around him, and prides himself on his knowledge of plants, animals, insects, and herbal remedies. However, his crabby grandfather thinks he is a lazy dreamer and sends the young hedgehog off to observe other animals that spend their time trying to be the smartest, fastest, or strongest of their species. Mikko learns that they are not happy in their pursuits, decides he doesn't want to live that way, and, upon returning home, uses his herbal knowledge to aid his ailing grandfather's cough, winning the old coot's approval. The didactic text is accompanied by Pfister's signature illustrations, which are humorous and appealing, but cannot help this formulaic, preachy story. For a better example of the value of dreamers in society, choose Leo Lionni's Frederick (Knopf, 1967).
Holly Belli, Bergen County Cooperative Library System, West Caldwell, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: North-South Books (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735818169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735818163
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,350,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I think it is terrific to have a book that tells kids to do what makes them happiest and what they enjoy, not to make themselves miserable just make someone else happy. The pictures are great and the message even better. I've given this one as a gift often, to many rave reviews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My 3 year-old son likes this even better than "Rainbow Fish", and I didn't think that was possible. Charming illustrations and a practical message make this one a keeper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book! It definiitely teaches a child to be happy "in their own skin" and to be true to themselves. It also teaches that what makes one person happy, doesn't necessarily make the next person happy. It also teaches the child not to try to be like others, just be himself!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DONALD G. FOX on January 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
After reading earlier reviews, it struck me that I found "The Happy Hedgehog" to be a very positive story of one happy hedgehog who respectfully sets out to please his grandfather. Despite Mikko's intial insistence that he is actually quite content with life in his garden, he listens to his grandfather's complaints about the useless "youth of today." His grandfather tells him, "You should take advantage of your youth to accomplish something important so you will be happy." It is after Mikko's many adventures in which he sees other individuals trying to become faster, smarter, stronger, and busier in order to attain happiness that he truly understands that his grandfather's premise is not true. In fact, the talents of herb and flower recognition that Mikko possesses in his garden are indeed a source for authentic happiness and serenity: "Grandfather Tarek saw how much his grandson really did know, and how much there was to learn in Mikko's garden." Although it is a bit philosophical, it is a story worthy of reading.
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By J. S. Latuszek on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this to be a very charming and captivating story about a Hedgehog learning how to be happy. Children live in a world in which people are always telling them that some way of life is better. This book helps to reverse this impression. It also teaches the power of standing up for yourself and the good that can come from helping others.

I've always enjoyed the story The Rainbow Fish so I was happy to read a story with similar emotional and moral value. Teachers would find this as a great asset to their classrooms as it contains a simple plot with a powerful message, perfect for teaching literary elements. Lesson plans could also be easily structured around this story, providing a variety of lessons in a range of core subjects. The colorful pictures and creative story line would also keep children interested right to the very end.

This book would be perfect from Kindergarten through second grade.
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By K. on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
there'd been a story like this around when I was a child. It might have saved me a lot of anguish as an adult. I believe this book has an important message - that being the best at something is not the only way to happiness. There aren't enough bests in the world for each of us to be one of them and I think that contentment on the journey (as Pfister points out in the aphorism from Buddha which he uses in his dedication) is such an important concept. Unlike the reviewer who pans Pfister's treatment of school which he illustrates with the bunny who doesn't understand but learns by rote, I believe an adult reader should take the time to discuss what Pfister really means, and it isn't that school is a waste of time.
Highly recommended with a message no one can hear too often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cathryn C. Henderson on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We have a plush toy hedgehog in our classroom and the children love to see him when we read this book.
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By Persop on December 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Kohl's seem to be involved with a number of excellent books including this one. This was originally published in Europe but it is not a regional tale. An animal is happy and useful but encouraged to be more competitive with promises of future success. Mikko learns his established values and method of existence are both rewarding and useful.
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