Three Hedgehogs


Three hedgehogs living in a little house on a farm are desperately hungry and decide to steal three apples from the orchard. This infuriates the farmers who set out on an expedition to arrest the thieves. But a witness has some surprising new proof that turns the criminals into heros.

Word play and visual puns abound in this witty and enchanting book by a brilliant young Spanish author and illustrator.

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Three hedgehogs living in a little house on a farm are desperately hungry and decide to steal three apples from the orchard. This infuriates the farmers who set out on an expedition to arrest the thieves. But a witness has some surprising new proof that turns the criminals into heros.

Word play and visual puns abound in this witty and enchanting book by a brilliant young Spanish author and illustrator.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Spanish, this quirky semi-political tale is embedded in a complicated format, presented as a "pantomime in two acts and a colophon" (a glossary defines a pantomime, "in this case," as a short comic play, and a colophon, also "in this case," as a short scene at the end of the play). In Act I, set in autumn, a trio of hedgehogs takes apples from a woman's farm. In Act II, set in spring, a menacing posse of rotund men armed with pitchforks and guns are stopped from killing the hedgehogs by the farm woman, who notices an apple sapling in the garden. From this point, the text becomes overtly didactic as the tree announces, "It was the hedgehogs who planted me.... Why would you kill them?" The posse "drops its weapons in shame," and "hands are held out in peace as the heroes are honored for their good deed." In the "Colophon," the animals wordlessly enjoy a feast together the following fall. Throughout, Latin, Chinese, French and Spanish words adorn the stylish paintings (these, too, are defined in the glossary), adding layers of linguistic and visual sophistication that will likely maroon younger readers. For example, fleurs-de-lis close up their petals when the hedgehogs are accused, and a large hand with a pointing finger holds a ticket that says "coupables de culpabilit " (French for "guilty of being guilty"). The dry verbal humor and emphasis on structure and design might earmark this title more for adults than children. Ages 3-5. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Billed as, "A pantomime in two acts and a colophon," this very different picture book is simultaneously simple and complex. The simple story revolves around three hedgehogs who discover a hole in the hedge leading to a neighboring apple orchard. The hedgehogs are delighted in their culinary windfall and return home to an apple feast suitable for winter hibernation. The indignant orchard owner vows to send a posse in the spring to track down the apple thieves. The guilty hedgehogs are confronted and in dire straits when a nearby apple tree speaks in their defense, explaining that the tree would not exist had the hedgehog feast not taken place. All rejoice in the creation of the new life and peace is offered and accepted. What make the story more complex are the visual puns and foreign language overlays that appear in the subdued illustrations. The author includes a glossary that defines the terms in order of their appearance in the book. While the slight story is not suitable for a story time reading, a clever teacher or librarian could make much during a class discussion on the themes that appear in the text and pictures. 2004 (Orig. 2003), Groundwood Books, Ages 5 to 10.
—Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Billed as "A pantomime in two acts and a colophon," this delightful story opens with Act I ("The Robbery"). On a lovely fall day, three ingenious hedgehogs happen upon an orchard. After harvesting the apples by rolling around on the ground and making them stick to their spines, they return home, enjoy a satisfying meal, and fall into a long winter's sleep. Enter the owner, a forbiddingly large woman who is infuriated by the loss of her crop. Calling a posse of men, she tries to have the thieves apprehended, but the pursuers decide to wait until spring. Act II details the hedgehogs' capture and subsequent trial, and the wordless colophon shows a celebratory dinner in honor of the unexpected verdict. Utterly charming illustrations-rendered in hazy, earth-toned oils and featuring gently rounded, primitive figures-and multilingual wordplay make this mock pantomime an ideal introduction to theater. From the "Dramatis Personae" listed at the opening to the closing note ("Cuique Suum"-"To each his own"), the gentle humor and sophistication will give young listeners a sense of being in the know. A glossary gives definitions of the Chinese, English, French, Latin, and Spanish terms used in the text and illustrations. While children may not pick up this English translation of Los Tres Erizos on their own, it makes an amusing and fascinating read-aloud. Pair this imaginative offering with Lena Anderson's Hedgehog's Secret (R & S, 2001) for a storytime featuring gentle tales about prickly, but charismatic, animals.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cunning, winsome, and oh-so-European, this tale is full of wordplay in many languages from the Spanish author Castan. It begins with a list of characters: Hedgehog One, Two, and Three, The Crow, The Farm Woman, and so on. Act I shows how the hedgehogs got into the orchard, tumbled among the windfalls, and go home with apples stuck to their spiney coats. The Crow tells the farm woman, and she sends a posse of big round guys with clubs out to find the thieves. But winter's coming, and the posse goes home. In Act II, a rather larger posse sets off in the spring, finds and terrifies the tiny hedgehogs. But an apple tree has bloomed from the hedgehogs' discarded apple seeds, so there is forgiveness and celebration. (In the Colophon, the hedgehogs cook apples for everyone in the fall.) The soft-edged illustrations have banners in Latin and Spanish, dainty patterns of grass and flowers, delicious use of contrast (the hedgehogs are tiny and everyone else is huge). A glossary defines everything except the story's ineffable charm. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888995957
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 5/10/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 986,408
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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