A Porcupine Named Fluffy

A Porcupine Named Fluffy


Book: A Porcupine Named Fluffy

Author: Helen Lester 

Illustrator: Lynn Munsinger

Publisher: Sandpiper, republished in 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0395368954 (Hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0395368952 (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0395520185 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0395520185 (Paperback)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Reading level: Ages 5 and up

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Lester, Helen.  A Porcupine Named Fluffy (published in 1986 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children).  Should Mr. and Mrs. Porcupine name their baby Lance? Or Prickles?  Or Needleroozer? Or Quillian?  No, they name him Fluffy.  The youngster wants to live up to his name.  However, trying to be a fluffy pillow only produces a not-so-pleased mother who sits on him by accident, and when he tries to be a fluffy cloud the tree won’t support his weight. Similar attempts to fluff up his quills by soaking in the tub for 45 minutes, covering himself with whipped cream, and eating fluffy marshmallows only manage to make him soggy, gooey, and stuffed.  The sharp-quilled Fluffy just isn’t fluffy.  He manages to get stuck in a door by backing into it, to poke holes in his umbrella, and to stick himself to his mattress.  His name becomes a source of great sorrow to him.  Then he meets and befriends a fierce rhinoceros who sees the humor in his own name.  Can you guess what the rhino’s name is?

     Author Helen Lester’s delightfully silly text is as whimsical as illustrator Lynn Munsinger’s very funny, full-color pictures which make for one of the most spiney and prickley porcupines found in children’s literature.  Together, they create nicely absurd images, such as a scene in which Fluffy and the rhino roll on the ground, laughing so hard that they start to cry as they discover the truth in the saying, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”   Nearly all people have disliked their own name at some time or another and maybe even have to endure some sort of taunt about it.  But Fluffy is happier with his name after he meets the similarly misnamed rhinoceros, and thus teaches children that there are things about each of us that we cannot change no matter how hard we try.  The book has fun lines that sound great when read aloud to kids, enough cleverness to interest adults as well, and a great message about accepting yourself for who you are and finding friends who can appreciate you.

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