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The Wonderful Critters of Oz

More interesting discoveries for young readers. Kirkus Reviews described The Hedgehog of Oz by Cory Leonardo as “The Wizard of Oz meets The Wind in the Willows“. The publisher describes it like this: “Marcel the hedgehog used to live with his beloved owner Dorothy, but since getting hopelessly lost, he’s tried to forget the happy home he left behind. Now, Marcel lives a quiet life in the abandoned balcony of The Emerald City Theater where he subsists on dropped popcorn and the Saturday showings of The Wizard of Oz. But when he’s discovered, Marcel is taken far away from everything he knows and ends up lost once more. His quest to return to The Emerald City Theater leads him to Mousekinland, where he meets Scamp, a tiny mouse armed with enormous spirit (and a trusty sling-shooter). Before long, they’re joined by an old gray squirrel, Ingot, who suffers from bad memories and a broken heart, and Tuffy, a baby raccoon lost and afraid in the forest. And the travelers attract the attention of an owl named Wickedwing, who stalks them as they search for the old theater. From field to forest, glittering theater to the gutter, the animals’ road home is a dark and winding journey. But sometimes you need to get a little lost before you can be found.” The book is available now in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2022 Simon & Schuster

Spikey and the Squirrel

Talk about coming out of nowhere — and here it is! Animation Magazine let us know about a new animated film called Latte & The Magic Waterstone. Created in Germany and Belgium, it just premiered on Netflix in North America. “Directed by Regina Welker and Nina Wels, the children’s film is based on a book by Sebastian Lybeck and follows the adventures of a hedgehog named Latte and her anxious squirrel friend Tjum, who set out to reclaim a magic stone stolen by the bear king.” Animation has an interview with the directors, and the official trailer.

image c. 2020 Dreamin’ Dolphin Film

Step Into The Cartoon

The world of Virtual Reality entertainment keeps moving ahead. (By leaps and bounds, or by steps and stumbles? Depends on who you talk to.) Recently Cartoon Brew put up an article about Henry, “an Immersive Virtual Reality short”. “On the surface, Oculus Story Studio’s new 12-minute short film Henry is a sweet story about a lovable hedgehog who just want to make friends, but can’t stop spiking whatever he hugs. ” But actually, it’s one of the first animated films ever created for the environment of the Oculus Rift head-set. Once “inside”, viewers can either watch Henry’s story — as he attempts to hug flying balloon-puppies with disastrous results — or explore the levels and rooms of Henry’s tiny home. Or both. There’s a non-Oculus “making-of” video that explains it more.

image c. 2015 Oculus Story Studio

image c. 2015 Oculus Story Studio

Mighty Hedgehogs not named Sonic

The Six Crowns is a brand-new anthropomorphic fantasy novel series. It’s written by Allan Jones, illustrated by Gary Chalk, and published by Greenwillow Books. (In the UK, the series is known as Sundered Lands.) The first book in the series, Trundle’s Quest, introduces us to a humble yet ultimately heroic hedgehog. Here’s the publisher’s description from Amazon: “Trundle doesn’t think he’s an adventurer. He’s a lamplighter. He likes everything safe and cozy, and that’s the way things are in his peaceful part of the Sundered Lands.  Until Esmeralda barrels through his door.  Esmeralda, a princess with a knack for magic and for finding trouble, is convinced that Trundle is the only one who can help her find the six crowns. Lost and scattered long ago, the crowns could unite the Sundered Lands once again. But not if the pirates find them first.  Suddenly, Trundle is on the run. He becomes a stowaway, a drifter, a thief’s accomplice, and a swordsman.Trundle may find that he is a true hero, after all . . . and that this is only the beginning of an epic journey.” Mr. Jones and Mr. Chalk also have a web site dedicated to the series.

image c. 2011 Greenwillow Books