Albert Whitman

Copyright © 2019 Lisa Moser
Illustrations Copyright © 2019 Olga Demidova

The story

When Porcupine finds some yarn in the woods, she knits a beautiful present for her friend Badger.  And when Badger finds yarn, she knits a present for Porcupine.  But there’s a problem—they’re using the same yarn.  The same very long piece of yarn!

Soon a yarn tug-of-war breaks out between the two, and their projects—as well as their friendship—begin to unravel. 

When a winter storm starts howling, Porcupine and Badger realize that nothing is more important than their friendship.  They head out into the cold, dark night to find each other.  Love, forgiveness and two cozy sweaters knit their friendship back together.

How it was written. . .

Daydreaming is a big part of my job.  One day, on a walk in the woods, I started imagining two friends, Porcupine and Badger.  I thought about all of the fun they’d have together.  And then I thought about what would happen if they had a disagreement or a misunderstanding.  Even the very best of friends have arguments once in a while.  Feelings can get hurt, tempers can flare, harsh words can be spoken.  But even when all of these things happen, friends still love each other deep down. 

 

So, the book became a story about forgiveness.  Porcupine and Badger forget all of the hurt when they think the other one is in danger.  They rush to help each other because that’s what friends do.  They say they’re sorry, and then they put it all behind.  Their friendship is restored, and a roaring fire and toast with apple butter is waiting.  Forgiveness wins!

 

STORY EXERCISE:

As I was writing this story, I had a lot of fun imagining all of the things Porcupine and Badger could knit.  Of course, many of them are in the book, but I had other knitted inventions that I did not get to use.  For instance, I thought it would be funny to knit a fence around a garden and when it gets yanked apart all of the other animals rush in to eat the vegetables. 

 

Can you think of some funny things that could be made with yarn?  A sweater for a flower to protect it from frost?  A hat for a house?  Spend some time daydreaming.  Be creative and original.  Even if your invention can’t actually be knitted, pretend it can.  Most of all, have fun!

Reviews

"Badger and Porcupine are good friends who are preparing for winter. As they split up to gather firewood, a ball of yarn tumbles out of a peddler's cart and stretches across the forest. Porcupine and Badger each pick up one end of the yarn and take it home. In a "Gift of the Magi" moment, Badger and Porcupine decide to knit a gift for the other. Unfortunately, as the animals near the end of their projects, both the backpack and tablecloth completely unravel. Badger and Porcupine discover the rest of the yarn at each other's houses. They fight over possession of the yarn and decide to make various things for themselves instead. They become so angry that they declare an end to their friendship, cutting the yarn in half. But soon after, they have compassion for each other in the cold, and present each other with matching hand-knitted sweaters. The illustrations have a retro, animated look that enhance the story. Best for one-on-one sharing, and perhaps a discussion on misunderstandings that can occur among friends."  

 -Booklist

"A ball of yarn comes between two pals who get all wrapped up in themselves and forget what friendship is about. The artwork is outstanding - hidden details and fuzzy friends with expressive eyes peek out from every corner to draw you into the pages and make you wish you could live in Badger and Porcupine's forest. And the story organically illustrates how cold and lonely life can get when misunderstandings and me first feelings get in the way of looking out for our friends. My absolute favorite picture book of the fall!"

— Chris Lee

©  Lisa Moser 2020