Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

C. R. Mudgeon

C. R. Mudgeon

Leslie Muir
Illustrator:  Julian Hector 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2012   ISBN: 978-1416979067

C. R. Mudgeon is a hedgehog who does not like change. In fact, he is practically allergic to it. He likes his routine, and has no interest in trying new things. Every evening he has the same celery root soup and cup of dandelion tea. Every Tuesday he picks a small fig for his dessert. Every night after his supper he sits by the fire and reads his favorite book – Medical Cures from A to Z.

One Tuesday C.R Mudgeon goes out to pick his fig when he sees that there are red poppies in front of his door, and the sight greatly disturbs him. He discovers that someone new has moved into the neighborhood, and when he knocks on the door of the someone’s house a gaily dressed squirrel called Paprika greets him. C.R Mudgeon tries to complain about the poppies. They are making him see spots and he does not like it one bit. Paprika does not seem to think that this is a problem at all, and a very unhappy C. R. Mudgeon goes home. He consults his medical book and goes to bed.

At suppertime C. R. Mudgeon has his usual celery root soup. A spicy cooking smell coming from Paprika’s house makes the soup taste “thin” and “pale.” The grumpy hedgehog goes over to Paprika’s house to complain, and her response it to him a bottle of “Volcano Sauce” to spice up his dinner. One sniff of the sauce is enough. C.R. Mudgeon goes to bed with a clothespin on his nose.

One would think that all this disruption would be more than enough for one hedgehog to bear, but C.R, Mudgeon’s trials are not over yet. Not by a long shot.

Many people find that a routine gives them comfort. Sameness is easy to deal with and it makes life predictable. Change can be painful and confusing. The problem is that too much routine and sameness can cause problems too.

In this clever and amusing picture book, Leslie Muir explores the idea that new friends and new experiences really are “the spice of life,” and without them life can be more than a little insipid and uninspiring.