Hedgie's Surprise

I'm not sure how many copies of Jan Brett's "Hedgie's Surprise" are floating around out there, but we own it so why not review it?!

*The pictures are excellently drawn and beg me to question why more illustrators of this caliber aren't hired for children's books
*Surrounding the core story pages with a border of additional pictures illustrative of the text is a great tactic to let kids see what the author is describing
*Gives insight into what it's like to lead a farm life without beating you over the head with the traditional farmer and barn animal interactions

*The main antagonist in the story is a Tomten (which Internet research claims is a mythical Scandinavian farm protector) -- this is an interesting tidbit to learn, but someone dropped the ball in failing to explain it either in the story or, more appropriately, on the book jacket
*The Tomten threatens to eat the hen if she denies his advances toward her eggs, but somehow doesn't retaliate when Hedgie and the hen team up against Herr Tomten at the conclusion (randomly finding porridge as a substitute)
*If we're going to be teaching kids about farm life, it should be noted that chicks don't hatch without mama bird warmth

Northern Europe is the birthplace of many a good fable, and this book could be included in that group.  The story is compelling enough and the artwork is out-of-this-world good.  Yet, there are a few too many holes in the story to give it a full Buy rating.  If you can catch it on sale or at a price you deem a bargain, then you could do a lot worse.

Buy / BORROW / Donate / Destroy

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