How Do You Spank a Porcupine?

When one thinks of Natural History Books, the topic of “Porcupines” often does not come to mind. This ubiquitous creature often does not make it to the top of the list when it comes to writing nature books. Indeed, there has not been much published about this amazing animal. The Library of Congress only has 220 books under the subject “porcupine” and the British Library only lists 28! The vast majority of the books listed are children’s fiction books, usually with a heartwarming tale how a prickly porcupine learns to fit in with other animals that don’t at first accept them. A perfect example of this is “How Do You Hug a Porcupine?” by Laurie Isop, with the book summary: “Can you imagine hugging a porcupine? Sure, it’s easy to picture hugging a bunny or even a billy goat, but where would you begin to try to hug a porcupine? After seeing all his friends hug their favorite animals, one brave boy works up the courage to hug a porcupine, but the porcupine isn’t so sure he wants to be hugged!”

Children’s authors have often used the porcupine as an allegory to show how prickly and not so nice children really are just misunderstood and need affection! This is fine, but what really is needed is more factual information about real porcupines.



Here is a heartwarming non-fiction book about a porcupine: “How Do You Spank a Porcupine?” by Ronald Rood. Set in Vermont, this heartwarming tale tells the story of the author who rescues an abandoned “porcupette” and raises it in his home. “Piney” chews his way through almost everything in his home, including his neighbor’s ivory umbrella! Piney’s antics are hilarious, and they show how intelligent and gentle these creatures really are. Overall, a great read and its clean and funny content would make it a wonderful book for parents to read to their kids.

Porcupines are amazing creatures and are often misunderstood. Let’s get the word out!

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