Lena Anderson, Author, Lena Anderson, Illustrator, Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard, Translator , trans. by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard. R&S $14 (28p) ISBN 978-91-29-65389-2

Anderson (Tick-Tock; Tea for Ten) demonstrates how mixed signals can affect friendships in this cheerily illustrated volume. Hedgehog keeps the titular secret until the very last page. She spends the day scrubbing, washing, sweeping and mending, and has no time for her friends. Elephant suggests, " 'Why don't we all of us go for a walk?'/ We could get some fresh air, and have time to talk.'/ 'Oh no,' said Hedgehog. 'I've no time for that stuff.'/ So Elephant starts to leave in a huff." Anderson's rhymes, at least as translated by Dyssegaard, aren't particularly remarkable or lyric. But the full-page and spot watercolor illustrations, rendered in the soft, pale colors of a baby's layette, have a sweet, old-fashioned feel. And the final scene, with neighbors fussing over Hedgehog's baby (that's the secret), sums up all that is wonderful about newborns. Unfortunately, Hedgehog's secret is also the book's flaw: while it is genuinely hard to guess what she is concealing, children may be confounded by Anderson's coyness. When and how long ago did the baby arrive? Why wouldn't she share her pregnancy with her friends? Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Children's
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