How Do You Hug a Porcupine? by Laurie Isop

How Do You Hug a Porcupine? by Laurie Isop
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

It’s easy to picture hugging a bunny, or even a billy goat…but how would you even begin to try to hug a porcupine? After seeing all his friends hug their favorite animals, one brave boy must grapple with this very question. Eventually he works up the courage to hug a porcupine—but the porcupine isn’t so sure he wants to be hugged! The surprise ending to this humorous tale, complete with charming illustrations, will have kids begging to hear this fun read-aloud again and again!

Some animals are easy to hug, but I’d imagine that porcupines aren’t one of them.

My favorite scenes were the ones that showed children hugging all kinds of animals that I’ve never thought about being affectionate with before. It was funny to see them snuggled up to everything from ostriches to chimpanzees. Those images were also a nice contrast to the more typical creatures that I’d expect kids to want to be close to like cats and dogs.

The ending was a letdown. After all of the time the narrator spent building up my expectations for what it would be like to hug a porcupine, I was expecting much more from the final scene than what it actually gave to me. The events in that scene happened, and then everything was suddenly finished. I would have chosen a much higher rating if this hadn’t been the case because I deeply enjoyed the beginning and middle of it.

The rhymes were perfect. Not only did Ms. Isop rhyme some words that I’d never expect to see after each other in picture book, she tied them into the plot beautifully. Even the silliest lines actually made great deal of sense when they were compared to all of the other creatures the main character had tried to hug in the recent past. There is definitely a time and place for goofiness, and this author pulled that off well.

I’d recommend How Do You Hug a Porcupine? to anyone who is in the mood for something funny.


  1. awww I hate when the end is disappointing! This sounds like a delightful book and one my nephew would adore drawing from.

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