Carol reviews books on this site. It's predominantly Christian reads and frequently via the fantastic groups listed in the icons on the sidebar. :)
Friday, December 13, 2019
Darling Hedgehog Goes Down A Foxhole by Auralee Arkinskly
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.
As you have probably guessed by now, Darling is a young hedgehog. When her parents go missing, she goes to find them. That's how she finds herself down a fox hole, and out the other side.
Here she meets a stranger, Miss Fox, who dresses her up and calls her "Dumpling." That's scary!
From there it gets scarier. Poor Darling is starved for a good friend. What lengths will she go to to keep Miss Fox as a "friend" and who will pay the ultimate price?
Now, I very familiar with hedgehogs and I didn't have any objections to the illustrations. They work well for the book. What does upset me, is the issues in the story, and that at the recommended age of 9 or so. That this is going to upset some folks, probably not just children, as it did bother me.
Darling is easily distracted but allows Miss Fox to put her in horrible situations. There aren't any scriptures or any obvious Christian themes. That said, it's clean, except for those who weren't "saved" shall we say, and paid the ultimate price as far as we know. It's a creative take on who is a stranger and who is a friend, but I feel like it could have been a lot stronger with some things in it changed, and if marketed for a Christian audience, scripture being added would be nice.
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.