Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story

By Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon

A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, $14.99, ages 2-6

This year for Valentine’s Day the story selection is superb, with books about cupid, kisses, and hugs. But my favorite by far is about Mr. Prickles, a porcupine looking for friends in all the wrong places. Is it his barbed approach that keeps friends beyond reach? Filled with wonderful wordplay and delightful art, this book is sure to please throughout the year.

No matter how he tried, Mr. Prickles simply did not fit in with the other woodland animals because, “By their very nature, porcupines are very hard to get close to.” Despite his pointed overtures seeking out Raccoon, Chipmunk or Skunk, Mr. Prickles remained very lonely. He was left out of assorted activities until he looked no further than a neighboring stump. It was there he discovered Miss Pointypants. Rather than shake hands, these sharp but segregated creatures “regarded each other pointedly.” Together they learned what they could offer each other whether dining together or watching a romantic moonrise. No longer caring what the other animals said or did, Mr. Prickles and Miss Pointypants fell in love. “I don’t feel so prickly anymore,” Mr. Prickles said. “On the inside, anyway.”

This Valentine’s Day, Ronna also recommends

  • Plant a Kiss, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, HarperCollins, $14.99, all ages.
  • Where Does Love Come From?, illustrated by Milena Kirkova, Accord Publishing, $9.99, ages 2-5.
  • Love Waves, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 3-7.
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