Dick King-Smith is best known for his book The Sheep-Pig, made famous by the movie version Babe. Most of ex-farmer King-Smith's books are about animals. Not surprisingly The Hodgeheg is about a hedgehog. A rather plucky little hedgehog called Max.
Max lives with his family in a nice suburban yard. But they have a rather large problem. Lots of their friends and family members get killed trying to cross the road. A problem set out in the fabulous first line.
"Your Auntie Betty has copped it," said Pa Hedgehod to Ma.
Young Max seeks to find a solution to this terrible problem. He wants to find a safe way for his family to cross the road to get to the park on the other side, a large park which serves as a hunting ground for the hedgehogs.
Living in Australia I've never even seen a hedgehog, we don't have any. They are an introduced species in New Zealand but I don't believe I've ever seen any there either. Anyway I don't know much about them, and so I was very surprised to find out that they hunt mice and frogs and snakes!
It's probably no surprise to know that Max does succeed, but only after a few setbacks. He has a near miss with a cyclist and after a whack to the head his speech becomes quite peculiar.
"I don't want to bed into get," said Max. "I feel quite wakeawide. In fact I feel like walking for a go."
Young children love this kind of silly word play. It's a very cute book for a young reader.