“Hedgies Surprise:” Teaching Preschoolers About Friendship

All About Friends…

If you are planning a Friends Theme or a Jan Brett book week, Hedgie’s Surprise will be a great addition to your plans. This is a

Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett

book about two animals that have a wonderful friendship. One friend helps out the other with a problem. Jan Brett’s exceptional illustrations lend to the enjoyment of the book. Let's begin! Here are your lesson's objectives:

To give students an example of friends helping another friend.

To learn new vocabulary

To have dramatic role play

To be exposed to author Jan Brett

Materials and Preparation


The book, Hedgie’s Surprise, by Jan Brett

an egg (real or plastic), an acorn, a strawberry

scraps of felt material

construction paper or tag board

access to a copy machine/paper


Use the book to copy pictures of the characters and objects: rooster, the Tomten, (Henny) Chicken, Goose, Goslings, (Hedgie) Hedgehog, nest, egg, strawberry and acorn. Mount on heavier paper and cut around the edges. Glue a piece of felt on the back. The item should be able to adhere to a felt board.



You may choose to discuss these ahead of time or when you encounter them in the book:

Hedgehog-a small mammal with a spiny coat (like a porcupine) that rolls into a ball to protect itself

Tomten-A legend from Denmark about a troublemaking elf who lives in a barn and who wants to be fed

Porridge- a kind of oatmeal boiled in water or milk.

Time to Read!

Begin by holding up an egg and ask the students what they know about it. Lead them to say that they can eat an egg or, if it stays warm in the nest, the egg can crack open to reveal a baby chick.

Introduce the book by saying that Hedgie’s Surprise is a book about eggs and friendship! You want them to listen to find out who the friends are, what the problem is and how they solve it.

Then read and enjoy!

Assessment Questions

  • Who are the friends? Hedgie and Henny
  • What was the problem? Tomten kept taking Henny’s eggs to eat. She wanted to keep them to hatch so she would have baby chicks.
  • How did they solve the problem? Hedgie has the egg each morning and put something in its place for Tomten to eat. The last day he put himself in the nest all rolled into a prickly ball. Tomten didn’t like that and went back to eating porridge.
  • How do we know that Hedgie was a good friend? He helped his friend with a problem. He really threw himself into it!
  • Have you ever helped a friend with a problem? How did it make you feel? How did it make the friend feel?


Role-Play the book:

  • Assign characters: Rooster, Henny, Hedgie, Tomten, Goose, Goslings
  • Read the book again and have the assigned students act out the words that you read.

Felt Board:

  • With the items you have prepared, allow the children free time or as a center activity to tell the story themselves by moving pieces on the felt board.

Friendship Hands:

  • Encourage children to tell you when a friend has helped them. Write it on a cut out of a handprint and hang it up on a “Helping Hands” board.

Hedgie's Surprise is one of Jan Brett's books that can fit into several different theme weeks. Use these activities get the best out of this charming book. Do some vocabulary work, dramatic play and encourage the children to recognize that friends help each other.