ways that jeopardize acceptance from his adopted family. However, with the understanding and help of Mother Bear, Porcupette finally accepts that he is truly loved and wanted despite, or maybe because of, his differences.
Some authors are born with the courage to tackle the many difficult issues children may face in an honest, “here’s-the-way-it-is” manner. Vanita Oelschlager is one of those authors. Oelschlager’s books (lovingly called VanitaBooks) are designed to help children work through various challenging life experiences that their parents or guardians—though well-meaning—may tend to shy away from.
In Porcupette Finds a Family, Oeschlager tackles the tragedy of suddenly losing a parent and going straightway into a foster home. The story is told by little Porcupette (the proper name for a baby porcupine), who gives a first-person account of his early life with his loving porcupine mother. His mother dotes on him and teaches him many things, but one day she leaves their home of rocks to find food, and something goes terribly wrong. Poor Porcupette waits and waits but his mother never returns, so he wanders out into the snow and cold to search for her. He never discovers what happened to her, but he does stumble upon a mother bear sleeping peacefully beside her two bear cubs.
Scared, hungry and tired beyond words, Porcupette walks right into their cave, snuggles next to the cubs for warmth, and begins to drink milk from Mother Bear. To his surprise, Mother Bear and the babies accept him, and suddenly, Porcupette has a new family.
But like any child who has been uprooted from what he knows and thrust into a new environment, Porcupette has a new fear: How long will this new family last? Things seem fine on the surface, but what if Mother Bear suddenly remembers he’s not really her child? And what if the entire family suddenly disappears on him, like his own mother did?
Porcupette Finds a Family is a sweet and tender peek inside the mind of a child who, like a fish out of water, suddenly finds himself in a different home environment. The storyline is touching and exact, detailing the many ways foster children may act out and jeopardize their welcome in their new homes as they deal with their turbulent emotions. In addition, artist Mike Blanc’s illustrations are full of color, warmth and animated facial expressions, helping to render this a most comforting and child-friendly book.
This book is a must-have for classrooms, churches, foster homes, and staff and officials affiliated with any Department of Child Services agency. Don’t miss out!