School Library Journal
A beautifully illustrated, touching story about a small hedgehog, Sam, who has to venture out, as all hedgehogs do, and find a home for himself. He soon finds himself a lovely new place to live in the forest but there is one important thing missing--friends. Will the other animals of the forest like him? Will he be accepted? Will he make friends? Sam sets out to explore the forest and endeavour to find friends. His exploits will entertain all young children who will be able to relate to the need and feelings he experiences.
The worries Sam has are echoed by most children as they are about to start nursery or school and also by those who have to change schools frequently, sometimes mid-year, which is becoming increasingly common in today's society. With its heart-warming end, this story will help to prepare young children for that first day anywhere. The charming traditional illustrations with the cheeky woodland creatures making witty remarks will bring a smile to anyone's face. It is a perfect story to share with younger children at home and at school and to give to slightly older chidlren to read independently as they seek reassurance.
When Sam, a little hedgehog, moves into a tree in a new woodland, all that he is missing is companionship—a quandary he eventually tries to resolve by putting up signs on trees: “Wanted: A Friend. Hedgehog at the Hollow Tree.” Nastanlieva keeps readers in the know as rabbits, squirrels, and other animals secretly observe the hedgehog (“What’s he doing?” wonders a rabbit). When strong winds blow away both Sam’s notes and his quills, which he used to tack the notes to the trees, he falls into despair (“With no notes and no quills, I will never find a friend”), but a surprise welcome party signals mission accomplished. Nastanlieva’s illustrations combine autumnal honey and pea green shades with forceful pencil lines that evoke strong winds, rough bark, and scraggly undergrowth. The forest atmosphere, charming details (Sam shows up with his belongings in a traveler’s bindle), and tender formality of Nastanlieva’s introduction to the story—“When you are a little hedgehog, even a few weeks old, you must find your own place to live”—happily call to mind the Hundred Acre Wood.