But with my spikes, I can’t even hug my very own mother.
He is covered in spikes and they are getting in the way of his need to cuddle. All he wants to do is cuddle someone and feel the joy of a warm embrace but all the other bush animals are too frightened of his spikes.
Penny the platypus cries, koalas are cuddly up high in the tree and rosellas with all their feathers can put their wings around eachother at any time. Poor little Eric.
Upset with his situation, Eric runs away and then runs even faster when a snake tries to bite him, bees try to stng him and an eagle tries to snatch him.
Luckily he has spikes – those spikes that he hates and wishes he never had – to save him.
Eric learns to love his spikes and comes to realise that even if he can’t give a hug to someone he loves, he can give them a kiss.
Eric the echidna is quite the loveable character in this rhyming picture book. He displays many characteristics that children will relate to – jealousy, fear, independence, lack of self esteem, love for others and love for himself. Echidnas can’t cuddle is a great story to use to talk about self acceptance and learning to love the different things about each person.
Lauren Merrick’s images have been created through collage and print and are wonderful to look at, talk about and wonder how they were created to give the feeling of texture and life.
Echidnas can’t cuddle was shortlisted for the 2017 Environment awards because of the way it raises awareness about these spiky creatures, its habitat and the other animals that live around it.
So what else can you do with this book?
- Find out more about echidnas! Where do they live and are they endangered?
- What types of animals are echidnas and who else belongs in this group?
- What are the spikes made out of ? What else can you find out about these spikes?
Creative writing and drawing
- Write a story about another animal that wants a cuddle but can’t.
- Choose another Australian animal and write about a journey it might go on in order to find something positive about itself.
- Re create an image of the Australian bush using the techniques Lauren Merrick has.
- Link back to self – what do you love about you? What do you worry about? How can you help yourself to be proud of everything you are?