Hedgie's Surprise

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Jan Brett's beloved character Hedgie stars in this charming story about a little Tomten who gets tired of porridge for breakfast and starts stealing Henny's eggs. But Henny wants a brood of chicks and she needs her eggs. With the help of clever Hedgie, she substitutes an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom and finally a potato in her nest. But nothing stops that Tomten until the little hedgehog hides in Henny's nest: when the Tomten reaches in to get his morning treat, all he gets is a handful of prickles. He runs ...

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Jan Brett's beloved character Hedgie stars in this charming story about a little Tomten who gets tired of porridge for breakfast and starts stealing Henny's eggs. But Henny wants a brood of chicks and she needs her eggs. With the help of clever Hedgie, she substitutes an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom and finally a potato in her nest. But nothing stops that Tomten until the little hedgehog hides in Henny's nest: when the Tomten reaches in to get his morning treat, all he gets is a handful of prickles. He runs home for porridge and never comes back again! Intricate needlepoint patterns of Scandinavian designs frame the characters reacting from the borders in this beautiful picture book set in Denmark.

Hedgie, the hedgehog, helps Henny, the speckled hen, trick the Tomten who has been eating all of Henny's eggs for breakfast.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Author Essay
All About Hedgie's Surprise
Hedgie's Surprise is a story about friendship. Like many great partners, Hedgie's skills balance nicely with those of his friend Henny, who has talents of her own.

I needed a mischief maker to set events in motion. A Danish Tomten was my choice. On a trip to Denmark I learned that a Tomten is a Danish elf who lives secretly in the barn. If the farmer offers him porridge, the Tomten helps things along on the farm. But if the farmer ignores the little elf, things go mysteriously wrong!

I have always been fascinated by hedgehogs. They are wild animals that can coexist with us humans. Because hedgehogs protect themselves by rolling in a ball, they don't run away. We can observe their big, sensitive eyes for seeing in the dark and their funny turned-up snouts for digging insects. They are adorable and comical at the same time!

To create this book, I decided I must have my very own chicken. I needed to observe her to draw her well. I bought one-day-old chicks and raised them under a heat lamp. Now I have my own flock of five magnificent laying hens that have become my dear pets. Pansy and Bluebell are silver-laced Wyandottes. The old biddy, Dahlia, is a Delaware, and she is top hen. Daisy and Chrysanthemum are my fancy bantam silkies. They all lay eggs, which are delicious. They love to pose for me because they get bored easily!

--Jan Brett

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brett's (The Mitten; The Hat) trademark, elaborately bordered paintings are once again the centerpiece of her latest tale set in timeless rural Scandinavia. And, as in her prior works, the author's endearingly expressive animal characters, depicted in meticulous detail, steal the show. After viewing Goosey-Goosey's brood of chicks, Henny the hen longs for her very own offspring. But each morning a greedy, elf-like "Tomten" steals her newly laid egg, insisting he needs "a little yummy for my hungry, hungry tummy." Henny awakens her friend, Hedgie the hedgehog, with a loud wail, "No eggs, no chicks, no peeping babies," and he offers to help Henny put a stop to the Tomten's thievery. On successive days, her pal plants in Henny's nest an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom, a potato and--in the ultimate deceit--hides himself in the straw, rolled into a ball, which sends the rogue running after he picks up the prickly fellow. Thanks to Hedgie's cleverness, five eggs hatch into fluffy chicks, fulfilling Henny's wish for a family of her own. Youngsters will be happily diverted by the busy goings-on in both Brett's mainframe illustrations and elegant borders, which feature a red-and-white needlepoint background and egg-shaped spot art that tactically foreshadows the narrative. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Hedgie—everyone's favorite hedgehog—is off on another lovingly-illustrated adventure. Beloved author/illustrator Jan Brett captures the mischievous spirit of a Danish Tomten, an elf-like character with a healthy appetite for fun. Every morning, the Tomten steals an egg away from Hedgie's friend, Henny, for his breakfast. Henny puts up with the thievery until she sees Goosey-Goose swim by with a brood of little goslings. Then Henny wants chicks of her own. Hedgie steps in to help the little hen keep her eggs safe from the Tomten, through a sharp and clever plan that in the end surprises even Henny. This picture book overflows with visual interest. The luminous watercolor illustrations are set in intricately patterned, needlepoint borders. Using traditional color schemes and design patterns, the artwork captures the gentle humor of the tale as well as the beauty of a Scandinavian farm. Told in classic storybook style, this title is sure to become a bedtime favorite. 2000, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Henny longs for a brood of peeping chicks but nothing she does can stop the hungry Tomten from taking her egg each morning. Hedgie the hedgehog takes pity on her and devises a trick to defeat the greedy troll. Each night he places a different object in the hen's nest-an acorn, a strawberry, a mushroom, and a potato. When the unsatisfied Tomten finally demands an egg or Henny for his stew pot, Hedgie rolls himself into a prickly ball in the hen's nest, sending the surprised Tomten running away forever. The real surprise is the clutch of eggs Hedgie has stowed in his own nest that hatch into five baby chicks. The tale is adequately told but somewhat overshadowed by Brett's characteristic lavish watercolor illustrations and folk-art designs. The action unfolds in two-page spreads surrounded by needlepoint borders. The designs in the borders change with each page and pick up elements of the story. Watercolor medallions set on each side give additional views of the action: the Tomten in his hayloft; Hedgie climbing into the henhouse with a strawberry stuck on his spines; the nest with the hidden eggs. While this is not one of the author's strongest offerings, the simple story and visual appeal make it an acceptable addition to picture-book collections.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Pity Henny! Every morning, the Tomten (inspired by the mischievous character from Danish folklore) steals one of her eggs for his breakfast simply because he's gotten tired of eating porridge. Henny doesn't like this one bit, of course, but merely puts up with it. One morning she notices Goosey-Goosey swimming along proud as can be with her brood of newly hatched goslings. From then on, longing for offspring of her own, Henny determines to put a stop to the Tomten's misbehavior. All her efforts prove ineffectual, though, until her loyal pal Hedgie the hedgehog comes to the rescue. He tricks the Tomten on several subsequent mornings by substituting other foods for the usual egg. Finding these foods delicious yet unfulfilling—and un Byrd, Robert SAINT FRANCIS AND THE CHRISTMAS DONKEY Illus. by the author Dutton (40 pp.) Sep. 2000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399234774
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 156,942
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Brett
Jan Brett
Jan Brett lives in Norwell, Massachusetts. Her most recent book, The Three Snow Bears, was a New York Times #1 bestseller.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    Delightful! Different!

    Not the same old children's story. The story teaches a lesson about how a true friend is there when you need help. This can help a child learn about how to be a good friend and how to accept someone's friendship. I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    Hedgie's Surprise

    Henny is a speckled hen who lays an egg every morning, and every morning, the Tomten comes to get it for his breakfast. One day,Henny sees Goosey-Goosey with her goslings and she decides she wants some chicks of her own, but she doesn¿t know how to get the Tomten to stop taking her eggs. Hedgie, the hedgehog who lives nearby, decides to help her trick the Tomten so he won¿t keep taking her eggs. I thought this was a very cute book, and the illustrations are beautiful.Jan Brett is a very good children¿s book author and I think this is a very good book.

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