For northern Californians that spend a lot of time in the wilderness and forests that cover much of this part of the state, a porcupine would definitely be an animal to avoid. But for Humboldt county residents and visitors to the county’s Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, seeing a porcupine up close is much easier since Dorsie became the lastest member of the animal world to call the zoo home.
In February 2012, Dorsie the porcupine moved in to the former otter enclosure across from the flamingos at the zoo. She had been living at the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center where she was recovering from being struck by an automobile. Due to mobility issues, it was determined that the best chance for Dorsie’s survival would be to provide a home for her at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Now visitors to the zoo can visit Dorsie the porcupine and learn more about her species without trying to encounter one of her relatives in the wild.
Whether young readers have always been fascinated with porcupines or visiting Dorsie inspires a new interest, there are dozens of children’s books about both real and fictional porcupines. The following list is just a short sampling of books about this member of the rodent family. Bookstores and libraries around northern California are a great place to locate these books for readers of all ages.
Books for tweens
My Life as a Prickly Porcupine From Pluto (The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle #23) by Bill Myers (Thomas Nelson, 2004) Wally thinks cheating on one little test is not such a big deal, until it leads to telling a little lie, which leads to telling a bigger lie, and so on. Pretty soon the entire country is after Wally the outer space alien that resembles a giant porcupine!
The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 2010) In a sequel to both The Birchbark House and The Game of Silence, the story of an Ojibwe girl, Omakayas, who is now twelve, continues. It’s 1852 and the family has been displaced by the U.S. government and must find a new place to live. When Omakayas’ little brother befriends a porcupine, the family decides the animal may bring them good fortune.
Some Porcupines Wrestle: And Other Freaky Facts About Animal Antics and Families by Barbara Seuling and Matthew Skeens (Picture Window Books, 2008) The strange habits of several animals are explained; the reasons why badgers play leap frog and deer play tag are just a few of the strange behaviors of animals that are explored.
I Wish I Could Dine With a Porcupine by Brian Moses (Hodder Wayland Children’s, 2000) Fun poetry about taking iguanas for walks, sharing tea with a T. Rex and dining with porcupines.
Ages 6 and up
A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger (Sandpiper, 1989) What kind of parents would name their child Fluffy? Especially porcupine parents? Fluffy isn’t so sure he likes his name until he makes friends with a rhino.
Baby Porcupine by Aubrey Lang and Wayne Lynch (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2005) A baby porcupine, known as a porcupette, is born in a Minnesota cave and grows until she no longer needs her mother’s protection.
Oh My Darling, Porcupine and Other Silly Sing-Along Songs by Bruse Lansky and Stephen Carpenter (Meadowbrook, 2009) This collection of silly tunes is an anthology of Bruce Lansky’s own work, along with the songs of a few others.
Porcupines (Unusual Animals) by Sara Antill (Windmill Books, 2010) All the strange and interesting facts about the lives of porcupines along with color photographs.
Ages 3 and up
Hugs from Pearl by Paul Schmid (HarperCollins, 2011) Pearl just wants to give hugs, but her hugs always require bandages since she is a porcupine. Is there a way she can give hugs without hurting others?
Patch the Porcupine and the Bike Shop Job by Scott Nelson (Krby Creations, 2005) Patch works in a bicycle shop but every time he touches a bike tire, it pops. What will he do?
Story Time for Little Porcupine by Joseph Slate and Jacqueline Rogers (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2000) Little Porcupine is all set for bed, as long as he can hear and tell stories about the big porcupine in the sky (the sun).
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett and Ronald Barrett (Little Simon, 2012) Clothes are fine and dandy – and necessary! – for people, but animals would run into all sorts of problems if they wore clothes. A billy goat would probably eat his shoes, a walrus would get his pants wet, and a porcupine would poke holes in his shirt!
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