cover image Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story

Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story

Lisa Wheeler, , illus. by Janie Bynum. . Little, Brown, $15.99 (22pp) ISBN 978-0-316-00090-1

In this follow-up to Porcupining , Cushion (the porcupine) still loves Barb (the hedgehog), but trouble is brewing in the relationship. Barb loves to dance, but "Cushion's rumba was rumpled, his waltz wobbled, and his tango was totally tangled." Following the pattern of the last book, the hero requests dance lessons from other denizens in the petting zoo. A couple yield quite witty results (he attempts to learn the fox trot from the fox and the bunny hop from the rabbits), but all go nowhere. Cushion's quills quickly put an end to the proceedings. "My bottom looks like a dartboard!" says Biddy the hen while trying to teach him the funky chicken. "You're a cluck-cluck-clutz!" Of course, Cushion finds help in the place where he should have started: he and Barb wind up doing the title dance. Bynum's characterizations, especially of the wounded dance teachers, do not fully exploit the slapstick and emotional theatrics of the text. But Wheeler's always-reliable love of wordplay (example: the porcupine announces "No point in sticking around here," after accidentally stabbing the fox's tail with his quills) is in full throttle, providing children with plenty of giggle opportunities. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)