HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: How’s Inky?: A Porcupine and His Pals Offer Some Highlights on Happiness
Author: Sam Campbell
Illustrator: Bob Kuhn
Publisher: A. B, Publishing, republished in 2003
Related website: http://samcampbell.com/ (author), http://www.abpub.com (publisher)
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 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Campbell, Sam. How’s Inky?: A Porcupine and His Pals Offer Some Highlights on Happiness (published in 1943 by Simon and Schuster Inc.; republished in 2003 by A. B. Publishing Inc., Ithaca, MI 48847). “For we see here the proved pattern of creation….Inky never felt inferior. He stepped right out into the world to use the talents the Creator had given him.” Who is Inky? He is a porcupine. Author Samuel Arthur (Sam) Campbell (1895-1962), known as the “philosopher of the forest,” was a naturalist, writer, lecturer, photographer, and diligent student of animals who turned his home in “the north country” into a wildlife sanctuary called Wegimind. One year, he and his two assistants, Tom Norton, who was called “the Judge” because he looked like one, and a boy named Bobby, took in five orphaned baby animals—a deer named Bobette, a groundhog named Sausage (get it—“ground hog”), two raccoons named Rack and Ruin, and, of course, Inky–to raise and prepare for returning to the wild.
As Campbell wrote newspaper articles and gave lectures about these animals, people began asking, “How’s Inky?” So he decided to tell the story in a book. Eleven further volumes in this Living Forest Series of animal tales followed. I first heard about them in 2005 when the set was offered for sale in the Library and Educational Services catalogue. Therefore, when I saw this first volume at a homeschool conference, I decided to get it. The others are Too Much Salt and Pepper (1944); Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo, and Still-Mo (1945); A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too (1946); On Wings of Cheer (1948); Moose Country (1950); The Seven Secrets of Somewhere Lake (1952); Loony Coon (1954); Fiddlesticks and Freckles (1955); Beloved Rascals (1957); Sweet Sue’s Adventures (1959); and Calamity Jane (1962).
The euphemistic word “blamed” is used once, but there is nothing that is really objectionable but much that is praiseworthy. Campbell obviously believed in God’s creation and uses Bible quotes throughout. He not only describes the habits, work, and play of the wild creatures but also cites their behavior as examples for human beings of right living. “Therefore, when we see revealed the natural friendship of animals, we say, ‘That is the way we have always thought it to be, that is the world God made!’… Friendship for everything and everyone just naturally follows when you live right for God!” These books are a wonderful way for children, especially those who are being homeschooled, and in fact the whole family to learn about and gain a better appreciation of God’s creations.