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*Kazaak!* by Sean Cassidy
Also written and/or illustrated by Sean Cassidy:

Wake Up, Henry Rooster!
by Sean Cassidy
Ages 3-5 32 pages Fitzhenry and Whiteside February 2011 Hardcover    

After piercing his tongue on one of his own quills, young porcupine Spike questions their purpose. His friend Rupert assures him there are benefits to having quills: “Quills are the best…they keep us porcupines safe.”

Rupert demonstrates how quills allow a porcupine to blend into the surroundings and how they can be used to spear juicy grapes from a plant. Spike tries to pay attention to his friend, but he becomes distracted when he smells a bear nearby.

Knowing Spike is scared of the bear, Rupert proceeds to show Spike how they can defend themselves against the bear with a swing of their tail. A moment that is meant to humor Spike and lessen his fear ends with Rupert losing his quills.

Tension builds as we see a bear standing behind a now-defenseless Rupert. Spike is able to save his friend from this surprisingly ticklish bear, but in a way that the readers won’t expect.

This book is an important library addition because it clears up the misconceptions and questions children may have about this misunderstood (and cute) animal. On the last two pages of this book, the author explains that porcupines do not throw their quills, and he provides information on a porcupine’s diet during the summer and winter, the markings they leave on trees, the number of quills on their body, and a visual of the tracks they make on the ground.

Several picture books about porcupines have been published, but many of them show the negative side of having quills. This story shows the positive.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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