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by Joseph Slate & illustrated by Felicia Bond

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-029533-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

Lessons in differences and inclusion are charmingly presented in this pointed Christmas tale. Little Porcupine is very excited about the Christmas play. But even though he is the light of his Mother’s life, he is afraid he is too funny-looking to get a part. Sure enough, his schoolmates try to foist him off on stage crew and cleaning duties because he doesn’t look like them. And they turn down all his casting suggestions, saying that his spines would cause problems. He returns home in tears, where his mother again tells him, “You are the light of my life.” As the play gets closer, all the animals have a part and a costume, and they all know where to stand on stage. That is all but Little Porcupine, who occupies himself with stage duties. On the big night he pulls the curtain and takes care of the lights . . . and saves the show when he proves that the school play does, in fact, need his Mother’s “light” to make a successful performance. Slate’s (Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip With Kindergarten, not reviewed, etc.) message of acceptance would have made a greater impression had he continued the tale after the curtain went down. (Readers can only hope that his schoolmates will continue to appreciate Little Porcupine.) Bond’s (If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, not reviewed, etc.) colored-pencil illustrations will look familiar to fans of her popular mouse, pig, and moose books. Simple facial expressions force her characters to convey their emotions through body language. Without being preachy, this team has created a sweet, if predictable, holiday story. (Picture book. 3-7)