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Hans My Hedgehog

A Tale from the Brothers Grimm (with audio recording)

Illustrated by John Nickle / Retold by Kate Coombs

About The Book

A classic tale of love and acceptance from the Brothers Grimm is beautifully rendered in this magical retelling, now with an audio recording.

Hans is an unusual boy. Born a hedgehog from the waist up, he knows what it’s like to truly be an outcast. Even his amazing fiddle playing can’t help him fit in. So Hans flees to the forest with his herd of loyal pigs and only his music to keep him company. But then a most unusual thing happens: When Hans crosses paths with two kings with two lovely daughters, his luck starts to change. Will this lonely soul find true love after all?

This lively and lyrical retelling of the classic Grimm’s tale, paired with lush, detailed illustrations, reminds us of the power of music, the importance of belonging, and the transformative effect of love.

About The Author

About The Illustrator

Photo Credit:

John Nickle is the illustrator of Judi Barrett’s Things That Are Most in the World, as well as the author and illustrator of TV Rex, Alphabet Explosion!: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra, and The Ant Bully. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442447202
  • Grades: K - 3
  • Ages: 5 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

* "Hans breaks from old-school fairy-tale renderings as a contemporary character; he’s cute, comical and soulful. Prickly, a bit funny and a bit dark: classic Grimm, modernized."--Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)

"Coombs’ adaptation is eloquent and intricate, while Nickle’s richly hued illustrations have a classic flavor and feature varied perspectives, silhouettes, inset cameos, and lighthearted flourishes, like Hans’ challenge in getting dressed. An author’s note provides background and story inspirations."--Booklist

* “In a feat that may astound fairy tale cognoscenti, Coombs and Nickle transform a once-prickly story into something witty and warm. Whether readers know the original, there is joy in watching this plucky Hans triumph.” –Publishers Weekly, (STARRED REVIEW)

“This vibrantly illustrated retelling of an obscure fairy tale transforms a boy born with the upper body of a hedgehog from a beastly oddity into a sympathetic protagonist. Perfect for storytimes and possibly a jumping-off point for age-appropriate discussions about ostracism.”—School Library Journal

“This twisty mash-up of “The Princess and the Frog” and “Beauty and the Beast” introduces a spirited hero who handles his misfit status well, even if he does resort to a smattering of revenge. Creatures with quills, no matter how sweetly illustrated, are bound to be a bit testy.”—The New York Times

“A wonderfully imaginative story of loneliness, courage, and ultimately love, this selection is terrific.”—Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Awards and Honors

  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • CBC Best Children's Books of the Year

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this illustrator: John Nickle