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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain, written by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman & Company, Thomas Allen & Son. 2014. $17.99 ages 6 and up

"Lulu pointed to where the hedgehog was busy snuffling under a rabbit hutch, and all three boys at once scrambled over their fences and into the garden. "I've always wanted to meet an actual hedgehog!" said Henry excitedly. "I don't believe they're as prickly as they look!" "They are," said Mellie, who had said the same thing the day before..."

Lulu loves animals and she knows a lot about them. When she rescues a hedgehog from the swirling waters of a rainstorm, she knows that the hedgehog is not meant to be a pet. Lulu loves to collect pets in much the same way that others collect baseball cards, or stamps, or book series.

Hopefully you have an early reader who is collecting this and the other stellar stories about Lulu. So far, she's met up with a duck, a dog, a cat and a rabbit. In this fifth adventure, she must enlist the help of her friends and neighbors to ensure that the hedgehog finds safety and room to roam as it is meant to do. The Hedgehog Club is formed to help this happen by talking with everyone on the street. If each house provides a safe environment for the hedgehog, Lulu is sure that all will be well.

Gates are kept locked, food choices are made to ensure that there is no chance of making the hedgehog sick, snails and slugs are collected, and a small house is set up for protection from weather and danger. A book is helpful...Lulu ensures that everyone knows as much as they can about their new guest. Summer and fall pass without undue concern.

When winter arrives, the hedgehog is gone:

""I can't hear a thing. And where else could he be?"
Lulu didn't answer, but she thought of the Bossy Man's
trash-bagged leaves. She thought of the pond with the ramp
out of place, and she thought of Charlie's gate. "

It  isn't until spring brings sunshine and a need to clean up the yard that the Hedgehog Club makes a heartwarming discovery...and the work begins again in earnest.

This is a perfect series for young readers wanting to read a longer book. The characters are familiar, the dialogue adds interest, and the pace is quick. If  you haven't read the earlier books, they are worth your time. If you have, here is another terrific title to add to your shelf!

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