Avi’s forthcoming Poppy and Ereth will be the fifth book that I’ve illustrated featuring Ereth the porcupine, so you might think that I know my way around the walking pincushions by now. The true professional, though, always aspires to a more perfect porcupine, and so this morning, thanks to the generosity of the staff at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, I tagged along with camera in hand for their porcupine Brody’s morning stroll. Brody was a big change from last week’s stuffed animals; he is happily and emphatically far from the taxidermist. Anyway, I had a great visit and thank the Zoo for the chance to get up close and personal with a genuine moving and grooving Erethizon dorsatum. The day contributed much to my sense of how these fellows are put together and move and sit and stand—and one more thing, too. How to put this? Before meeting Brody, I knew from reading the Poppy stories that Ereth doesn’t smell great. I knew it, but I didn’t know it. I smelled through a glass, darkly. On this hot and muggy morning, I smelled face to face. Whooo!
Thanks again to the Prospect Park Zoo. And of course if you’re in the neighborhood, you can swing by and see Brody (and his mother) for yourself. They’re worth the trip! More on the zoo here.
A late edit to this post: If you enjoyed that look at Brody, another short video that gives a better look at Brody’s morning walk is posted by the zoo on YouTube here.