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Friday, September 3, 2010

A Porcupine Named Fluffy

by Helen Lester
illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Religious/Secular Content: Not applicable
Adult Content: No
Mature Topics: No
Strong/Inappropriate Language: No
Magic/Witchcraft: No
Disrespect/Rebellion: No
Drug/Alcohol Use: No
Violence/Abuse: Threat of bullying. One character threatens to "rough up" another.
Educational Value: Preschool Read-Aloud or Elementary Reader; an entertaining tale with a subtle, moral message; opportunity to discuss bullying, defensiveness and judging others on superficial means.
Positive/Negative Messages: The two main characters struggle with identity issues and making friends, but conquer both in the end.

Early Reader
Mr. and Mrs. Porcupine, upon having their first child, know that a name has meaning and want to give their son the best advantage, so they shun names about being, well... prickly.  They name their son Fluffy, which he obviously isn't, without thinking this might cause him embarrassment or difficulties.  As Fluffy grows, he tries in vain to make himself into what his name suggests.  Upon failing in this endeavor, he goes for a depressed walk where he meets a rhinoceros who, unbeknownst to him, is having the very same identity crisis, only he deals with it by defensively pushing people away... bullying them.  When the two discover their joint plight, they realize the ridiculousness of their individual efforts to change what is unchangeable, accept themselves and become fast friends.

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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:8