Another adventure from the Green Forest!
Happy Jack Squirrel has found something very strange in the forest – it is smooth and black and white and at one end it is very prickly. Happy Jack thinks and thinks, but he can’t decide what it is; it’s not a plant for it has no roots. It’s not alive because it doesn’t move. What can it be?
No one knows except old Grandfather Frog, but he won’t say. He only tells everyone who comes to him to look up into the trees where they found the strange object, and then they will know what it is. So they do. And they find – a stranger!
Yes, a stranger has moved into the forest – a stranger with hair that looks like lots of little spears. A stranger who has decided to live amongst the poplar trees of Green Forest. The stranger is a porcupine!
The forest animals are initially unsure of Prickly Porky – after all, what do they know of him? – until the day that he slaps Bowser, the mean hunting dog, across the nose with his prickly tail. Then the forest animals love him!
But strange things are afoot in the Green Forest. Reports are coming in that a strange object has been seen hurtling its way down the hill by Prickly Porky’s house. When asked, Prickly Porky says that he has seen no such thing as they are describing. What is going on? And what is this mysterious, bouncing object?
I loved this bit of advice at the beginning of Chapter Six.
“Once you start a story you cannot call it back; It travels on and on and on and ever on, alack!”
That is the reason why you should always be sure that a story you repeat is a good story. Then you will be glad to have it travel on and on and on, and will never want to call it back. But if you tell a story that isn’t true or nice, the time is almost sure to come when you will want to call it back and cannot. [pg. 25]
This bit, too.
A friend is always worth keeping. Unc’ Billy Possum says so, and he knows. He ought to, for he has made a lot of them in the Green Forest and on the Green Meadows, in spite of the pranks he has cut up and the tricks he has played. And when Unc’ Bily makes a friend, he keeps him. He says that it is easier and a lot better to keep a friend than to make a new one. And this is the way he goes about it: Whenever he finds that a friend is angry with him, he refuses to be angry himself. Instead, he goes to that friend, finds out what the trouble is, explains it all away, and then does something nice. [pgs. 46-47]
In commenting on Reddy Fox, Mr. Burgess says,
“He likes to strut around and talk big, But like most boasters, he is a coward at heart.” [pg. 50]
When little Mrs. Peter Rabbit hears that Peter Rabbit is in trouble, she braves her own fears of the Green Forest to go and help him out of his scrape.
I will quote only one more passage from The Adventures of Prickly Porky.
Who guards his tongue as he would keep A treasure rich and rare, Will keep himself from trouble free, And dodge both fear and care.
The trouble with a great many people is that they remember this too late. Reddy Fox is one of these Reddy is smart and sly and clever in some ways, but he hasn’t learned yet to guard his tongue, and half the trouble he gets into is because of that unruly member. You see it is a boastful tongue and an untruthful tongue and that is the worst combination for making trouble that I know of. It has landed him in all kinds of scrapes in the past, and here he was in another, all on account of that tongue. [pgs. 56-57]
Wasn’t that great? Not only did Mr. Burgess teach an important Biblical principle here, you may also notice that he used a Scriptural term in calling the tongue an ‘unruly member’.
The main action of the story consists in a prank that Peter Rabbit and Prickly Porky play over and over again on the animals in the story. It is not a bad prank, but its purpose is to scare the animals so that Peter Rabbit and Prickly Porky can laugh at them as they run away. While it is scampish of Peter and Prickly, it also forces several animals to come to grips with their cowardice.
After Reddy Fox boasts of his great bravery and then runs away like a coward, several animals taunt him over his fine words and feeble actions.
It is said on one page that old Granny Fox calls Prickly Porky, Unc’ Billy Possum, and Jimmy Skunk “everything bad she could think of”.
Old Mother West Wind and the Merry Little Breezes are referenced, but they are not the main characters.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret