This Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share with the readers I love (you!) some of the things I love: wonderful pun-packed picture books by Michigan author Lisa Wheeler and Michigan illustrator Janie Bynum.
Porcupining: a Prickly Love Story and Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story, both written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Janie Bynum, feature one of my most-beloved picture book characters, Cushion the Porcupine. We first meet Cushion in Porcupining where he is looking for love in all the wrong places. This forlorn hero of the petting zoo finally finds true love with Barb, a hedgehog. Then, in Hokey Pokey, Cushion wants to make his beloved Barb happy by learning to dance. Asking a fox, a rabbit, and a chicken for dance lessons only leads to prickly situations, and once again Cushion seems stuck out of luck. But Barb proves to be the perfect pick for Cushion when she teaches him all the moves he needs, and together they dance the Hokey Pokey.
For those of you who've ever attended storytime at the Orion Township Public Library, these books are the reason my ever-present storytime puppet is Barb the Hedgehog. Using puppets to retell a story will draw your young readers even deeper into understanding the book. Plus, playing with puppets is fun! Our library has hedgehog and porcupine puppets, plus dozens of others, that you can check out and take home, just like a book. So, pick up Porcupining and Hokey Pokey from the Orion Library and check out the puppets, too. While you're at our library, go online to Lisa Wheeler's website lisawheelerbooks.com for free, printable recipe cards for Cushion Cookies (made by another super-cool author Hope Vestergaard) and your Valentine’s Day is set!