Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Little Porcupine Played Christmas

How Little Porcupine Played Christmas
Joseph Slate ~ Felicia Bond ~ Thomas Y. Crowell, 1982

You guys know I am a snob about vintage kids' books, but that doesn't mean we don't visit our independent bookshop weekly to check out what's new. Though I was hesitant at first, I did eventually fall in love with Felicia Bond's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and subsequent titles, so when I recognized her illustrations on the Christmas display at the library, I couldn't help myself. Written in the early 80s, it has since been reissued with a different cover and title (Little Porcupine's Christmas), but go ahead and buy a previously-loved copy or check it out at the library as I'm sure this woman has more money than God at this point. (Just kidding. Tis always nice to line illustrator's/author's pockets with dough, no? Better them than those shysters at Fisher Price.)

So there's this porcupine see, and all he wants to do is be in the "Baby in the Manger" play... but his school/woodland chums think he's to prickly to be in the play and they oust him to janitor status and leave him out in the proverbial cold. Even though his momma thinks him "the light of my life", the other kids/pups/cubs/kits/lambs/ducklings turn cruel and nasty...

"No," says Little Fox.
"There is no part for you in the play. You are too funny looking."
"Besides," says Chipmunk, "the cotton snow will stick to your spines."
"And so will the tinsel," says Bunny.

Alas, the night of the play arrives and when it's discovered that there's no star for the wise men to follow, it is Little Porcupine's moment to shine. The drawings are dear and primitive and cast a wonderful shadow on a story that's all heart. Really, a feel good holiday tale for all those kids who've ever been left out of the fun.


Anonymous said...

Little Porcupine looks so cute I will have to track this one down for me and Ollie to read.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my families all time favorites! It is back on Scholastic magazine and at Amazon. Check it out!

JESCIE said...

"Any hound a porcupine nudges
Can't be blamed for harboring grudges.
I know one hound that laughed all winter
At a porcupine that sat on a splinter."

Lizzie said...

This is my favorite children's book! I'm 28 and still read it every year at Christmas!

Lori said...

The shortened title ALSO reflects a shortened book. Joseph Slate can't imagine why and neither can I. "How Little Porcupine Played Christmas" is perfect in its originality. Please encourage people to find the 1982 version, "How Little Porcupine Played Christmas." I read it aloud at writers' workshops all the time because it does everything a writer dreams of doing.

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