"There's a hedgehog in my pants!
From where did he appear?
My buns don't stand a chance.
It's his prickles that I fear!"
UH-OH! Someone's in a bit of a pickle! or should we say "PRICKLE"!
All poor little hedgehog wanted was a cosy new home.
You'll bust your britches laughing at this outrageously far-fetched story, where kindness wins in the end!
Illustrations by Ross Kinnaird
Miss 18 Months is at exactly the right age to enjoy this book. She had fun with the pictures, reacting with plenty of smiles and chuckles as the pages were turned. The graphics make extensive use of primary colours which are highly appealing to toddlers, and by this age most little ones are able to make out individual pictures provided the pages are not too cluttered and the figures are clear. Even if the child does not understand every word, the pictures tell the story anyway - and Miss 18 Months' family have their own hedgehog who visits regularly to share the cat's food!
The story itself is simple, one that is very familiar to any child who has suddenly ended up with a crawling critter inside his pants - although a hedgehog would be quite a lot larger than the more usual visitors like caterpillars or flying insects! However, it would be painful to sit down while a hedgehog was hiding in there. The hedgehog would not like it as he would get squashed, but the unfortunate child would end up with a bottom full of prickles. Ouch!
Although the story is very funny, something most children will relate to and enjoy, there is also the underlying message that it is important to be kind to others. The little boy in the story does not want the hedgehog in his pants (obviously!), but he does not want to be unkind to it either. Maybe it has crawled in there because the pants are nice and warm, and it can curl up and go to sleep. The little boy recognises this so he decides the hedgehog can keep the pants - having already offered it his brother's pair and having them declined. He then ends wearing his father's huge coat instead. This is so long that it keeps his own bottom warm so there is no need for pants. His underwear is enough!
Another appeal for Miss 18 Months was the use of rhyme to tell the story. Rhymes are great for little ones; they quickly learn a story by heart, often joining in with the last word in each line. And heaven help the parent or other person reading the text if they deviate from what is written - they will quickly get corrected and made to repeat the page properly!
The humour in the story hinges on the idea that, to a young child, bottoms are one of the funniest things ever invented. Toilet humour and images of bare bottoms are excruciatingly funny for pre-schoolers of all ages (and sometimes a few who are a little bit older as well!) Older people sometimes wonder why this is so - but they have just forgotten their own early childhood, when no doubt they were just as amused. The cover clearly warns the reader that "This book contains multiple words for bottom", and orders the "Fun Police (to) Back Off!". It goes on with the additional warning that people who are allergic to laughing should not pick up this book! So nobody can say they have not been forewarned. As for the under-fives, they have no such hang-ups. They know what they find funny and don't need a reason to justify it.
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"Biologically speaking, if something bites you it's more likely to be female"