About the Book
Book: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Genre: Early reader chapter book
Release Date: September 13, 2019
Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.
Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.
This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.
About the Author
Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job.
More from Auralee
I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew! You are a river of hope for a new author.
So, here’s the story behind the story.
My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke.
I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved. Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea. Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.
Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling.
I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.
She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career.
The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist!
When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and their characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue. It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better.
A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes.
I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom. I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.
This review is going to be a little different than my normal posts. Today, you are getting a two-for-one — one mini-review from my point of view and one from my 7-year old, Bella!
Mom’s Review: I love two things about this children’s chapter book. First, I adore the illustrations. They’re colorful, they’re bright, they add a nice touch of humor, and they help tell a good story. The second thing I appreciate, as a mom, is the lesson this book teaches children. “Not every stranger can be a friend” is a solid, unfortunate truth that ALL kids need to understand in this day and age.
But, I have two issues with this story. My first issue is that I do not appreciate the set-up for this story. I found it creepy. Darling, the protagonist, falls into a stranger’s house. That stranger gives Darling gifts, and without hesitation, Darling accepts. Then, Darling tries in several ways to come up with a gift for the stranger so that she and the stranger can be friends. I found this interplay very dangerous and very disturbing. Since my child had the capacity for cognitive understanding I have hammered into her that she is NOT allowed to take “gifts” from strangers unless mommy or daddy say it’s OK. As a mommy, I was disturbed from the beginning because this character acts the exact opposite as I’ve taught my child. Yes, things are later figured out, but I struggle with Darling’s blind acceptance of gifts from a creepy stranger.
My second issue occurs when Darling’s father later tells her that she was always safe from the fox because her hedgehog spines would keep her safe. I didn’t understand the value of this because while hedgehogs do have sharp spines to protect them, small children do not. Children are only as safe from predators as parents and trusted adults make them. I don’t understand how a child could relate to Darling’s character. Was this explanation supposed to be metaphorical? Is the author just attempting to teach the reader about the nature of hedgehogs? This response from Darling’s dad took me out of the story, and I found it odd. Sort of like a false sense of security.
Overall, I think Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is a story a parent must read with her children so some explaining and clarifying can be done. It definitely is a good “talking point” book to use as a teaching tool with one’s kids.
Bella’s Review: I like the hedgehog because she is cute. I do not think the fox is cute because she tries to eat Darling’s parents and friends. I think kids should read this book because it teaches a lesson to stay far, far away from strangers and to not take stuff from them. This book has safety rules to stay away from strangers. I like this book. I think this is a great book to read to kids. I hope you like this book too.
I received a review copy of this novel in paperback and eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
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