Hedgehogs (Nature’s Children), by Josh Gregory
Hedgehogs, in general, fit my standards for animals that I particularly like, which is why I like them. They are small, cute animals who tend to be associated with forests and meadows and which are capable of some measure of self-defense. This particular book is one of many hundreds of books that are written with young readers in mind to let them know about animals and to inform young readers about creation and the creatures that dwell in it. As animals with a wide range that naturally includes Africa and Eurasia and that has been spread to include being pets in the United States and a bit of a pest, and eater of eggs of rare birds, in New Zealand, lacking natural predators. Although it may be hard to believe it, hedgehogs are technically carnivores, and so while they are cute animals, they are certainly not helpless, and most of their predators, like birds and foxes and badgers and the like, are far larger than themselves because animals their own size would not think it wise to tangle with them, which is all for the best. If this book is aimed at the young, it surely has material of interest for others as well who just happen to enjoy hedgehogs as I do.
This book comes in at one of the standard length of books of this type at 48 pages, and is divided into five chapters and other supplementary materials. As a matter of course, this book includes a wide variety of pictures of various kind of hedgehogs, some of them pets and some of whom live in the wild, including a gorgeous photo of a cute hedgehog that lives in the Middle East in the wilderness around the Golan Heights. The book begins with a discussion of the prickly protection that hedgehogs enjoy and which is one of their most obvious qualities (1). This is followed by a discussion of how the hedgehogs and their lifestyle have been built for success (2), and how it is that they have succeeded in many environments over a wide portion of the globe. This leads to a look at the living and growing that is done by hedgehogs from their youth as hoglets, where they are vulnerable to cannibalism from other hedgehogs, even their own mothers, to the point where they have a solid range of their own if they survive their youth (3). After that comes a discussion of the hedgehog family tree, not only including the various genera of hedgehogs of various kinds, but also those animals which are reckoned to be their relatives (4). This is followed by a discussion of the relationship between people and hedgehogs, after which there are vocabulary words, a habitat map, suggestions for further reading, an index, and information about the author.