Jun 10, 2012

The Adventures of Prickly Porky

by Thornton Burgess

Like Mr. Mocker, this story isn't so much about a character himself as the confusion he causes in others. The porcupine is a newcomer to the forest and the other animals are impressed with his size, long teeth, and sharp quills so they keep their distance. Soon stories begin to spread about a strange, frightening creature seen at daybreak on the hill where Prickly Porky lives. It is an animal said to have no legs, head or tail, yet chases others with alarming speed. Peter Rabbit is terrified of it, even Reddy Fox and his wise Granny run away from it. Of course eventually someone figures out the mysterious creature's identity and then as each character learns what is going on they trick others into coming by when the strange beast appears so they can see them get frightened out of their wits. The last one to be fooled is Old Man Coyote, very put out indeed!

This is the first time I've read a Thornton Burgess book and wondered at the accuracy of the animal behavior it depicts (aside from the animals talking and holding parties for their friends, of course). I know that porcupines eat bark, climb trees, grunt to themselves, sleep in piles of dry leaves. But has one ever really curled himself up and rolled downhill? It sounds like a myth to me.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 74 pages, 1916

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