cover image Mr. Prickles: 
A Quill-Fated Love Story

Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story

Kara LaReau, illus. by Scott Magoon. Roaring Brook/Porter, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-483-7

Lonesome porcupine Mr. Prickles, unpopular among the other woodland creatures, finds a kindred spirit in his spiny neighbor, Miss Pointypants. LaReau and Magoon (previously teamed up on Otto: The Boy Who Loved Cars) depict Mr. Prickles as “hard to get close to,” but eager to be liked, in a forest ruled by furry bullies. “You’re not cute like us,” teases Raccoon, and Chipmunk snickers when Skunk sprays the outcast, leading him “to feel prickly on the inside. Very prickly.” Mr. Prickles’s angst gives way to romance when he meets the girl (porcupine) next door. Thereafter, the clique’s taunts (“Well, if it isn’t Spike and Barb”) lose their sting, and the porcupines enjoy themselves and “hug, very carefully.” Throughout, LaReau has fun with wordplay (“They knew better than to try and shake hands. Instead, they regarded each other pointedly”), though Magoon’s lovers don’t much resemble porcupines (and aren’t even all that prickly). Still, the “be yourself” message goes down easy in this tale of misfits, thanks to humor that ought to amuse readers of all ages. Ages 2–6. (Dec.)