cover image The New Arrival

The New Arrival

Vanya Nastanlieva. Simply Read (Ingram, dist.), $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-927018-13-2

When Sam, a little hedgehog, moves into a tree in a new woodland, all that he is missing is companionship—a quandary he eventually tries to resolve by putting up signs on trees: “Wanted: A Friend. Hedgehog at the Hollow Tree.” Nastanlieva keeps readers in the know as rabbits, squirrels, and other animals secretly observe the hedgehog (“What’s he doing?” wonders a rabbit). When strong winds blow away both Sam’s notes and his quills, which he used to tack the notes to the trees, he falls into despair (“With no notes and no quills, I will never find a friend”), but a surprise welcome party signals mission accomplished. Nastanlieva’s illustrations combine autumnal honey and pea green shades with forceful pencil lines that evoke strong winds, rough bark, and scraggly undergrowth. The forest atmosphere, charming details (Sam shows up with his belongings in a traveler’s bindle), and tender formality of Nastanlieva’s introduction to the story—“When you are a little hedgehog, even a few weeks old, you must find your own place to live”—happily call to mind the Hundred Acre Wood. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)