The Hedgehog Chronicles

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Prickly Predicaments tells the story of Henrietta and Harry, two desert hedgehogs who live in a city park in Dubai. I based it on a event that occurred many years while we were living in Saudi Arabia.

One night, driving home from a late night flight, my husband noticed a tiny hedgehog walking along the edge of a concrete overpass.  Figuring it would never survive the long trek back to solid ground, he scooped it up in a beach towel and carried it home.  After securing it in a cardboard box he woke us all up and we spent an enchanted hour watching the spiked creature amble around our living room.  Next morning the children found a place for it in the garden, but could not resist hunting through the bushes for it every ten minutes or so.  Kathy was convinced it was a girl hedgehog, while Stephen insisted it must be a boy.  Whatever its gender, the hedgehog soon grew tired of being observed and moved next door through a hole in the wall.

I couldn’t stop wondering how the little thing came to be walking over a concrete overpass  wide enough for six lanes of traffic at two o’clock in the morning.  Prickly Predicaments answers that question.

The desert hedgehog is the smallest member of its species.  It is 5 1/2 to 11 inches long (14-28 cm). It weighs 10-18 ounces (300-500 g).  The spines can be wrinkled and the color can be dark to light colors. It can be a mix of brown, yellow, white, and black.  The rounded ears and the pointed snout are brown. The forehead and sides are white and the feet and tail are dark brown.

 Hedgehogs live simpler lives than people, who also have to deal with prickly predicaments when mistaken assumptions lead to miscommunication, defensiveness and anger.  Harry and Henrietta share their story with two boys, one Arab and one American, and their fathers.  Thanks to the hedgehogs, misunderstandings arise between the boys and their fathers, and between the two men.  Happily, the kids become friends and the father’s are willing to put differences aside when one of the boys gets in trouble. Compassion and good will finally bring about the resolution of both animal and human predicaments.

Once I’d created Henrietta and Harry, they continued to live on in my imagination.  Dear practical Henrietta still shows up occasionally to give me good advice.  One day, I realized that they had emigrated to New Zealand!   Prickly Plights  is the story of their adventurous sea journey and introduces greedy little Harry to a new range of gustatory delights.

We don’t have hedgehogs in the States but in England they top  the ‘favorite animal’ list!  I learned a lot about these enchanting creatures while writing these books.  I hope they will entrance and delight you, too.

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