The prickly friends Herbert and Hilda are inspired by reading a book about the sea to make a trip to the seaside.
They check out the bus schedule and collect an assortment of beach toys and a picnic. They hop on the bus and wend their way to the seaside. Their enjoyment of their picnic is marred by the arrival of some ants, who march off with large quantities of their food. They have fun with a beach ball until it is popped by Hilda’s spikes. They meet some sea creatures, including a crab wearing socks (six of them). Hilda goes sailing and meets some dolphins, and Herbert has fun on a surfboard. After a final ice cream treat, the hedgehogs board the bus and make their way home, where they relax and admit that “The seaside is lovely, but home is the best!” And that’s about it. Strong, humorous illustrations in bold colors with thick black outlines reminiscent of the Maisie series are appealing to look at but do not compensate for an uninspiring plot. Poor-quality rhyming verse (“Herbert is hot, so as quick as a flash, / He jumps in the water and makes a big SPLASH”) makes this a faltering effort at best.
Although this book carries the prestigious imprimatur of the Tate Trustees, it won’t compete with more creative and original efforts on the same theme.