The New Arrival


Written and Illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva

Simply Read Book, 2013

There was once a hedgehog named Sam.  When you are little hedgehog, even a few weeks old, you must find your own place to live.

The plot in a nutshell:  A hedgehog makes his home in a forest and searches for a friend

Sam finds himself a perfect location for his new home, but is lonely for a friend.  He wanders through the woods, looking everywhere for someone to talk to.  The pictures show us that all the forest animals are hiding from Sam, unsure about this newcomer.  They ask each other questions and make comments about his appearance, but he is oblivious to all of this.  When he stumbles and breaks a quill, he comes up with the idea to use his quills to post signs all over the forest, advertising for a friend.  He winds up using all of his quills and gets caught in a storm, feeling sad and scared.  But when he gets home the next day, there is a welcoming committee waiting for him.  All the animals read his signs and are there to become his friends.

The leaves stuck to his quills are making a fashion statement.

The leaves stuck to his quills are making a fashion statement.

As you may have guessed, this story is pretty cute.  I really like the fact that we all get to see what Sam doesn’t get to see in the reactions of the other animals and I like that he takes the initiative to find friends.  But most of all, I love the beautiful artwork.  Author/illustrator Vanya Nastanlieva has a charming style of drawing all of these animals and the habitat in which they live.  The pictures incorporate color, light and motion and really make this book stand apart from others.

In his search for a friend, Sam sacrifices all of his quills, which are his most basic form of self-defense and protection against the elements.  I love that his new friends make him a wool sweater (of sorts) to keep him warm, now that he has lost his quills.  And there is a very cute picture, all in shadow, on the inside back cover that shows Sam with his new friends that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that you sometimes have to let down your defenses to make new friends.


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