Jan Brett writes best-selling, award-winning children's books. Her Web site won't be winning any awards, but it contains a ton of content, including 4,633 coloring, video and activities pages. It's unclear how many of those submitter "John" sifted through before discovering "Hedgie's Alphabet," but for the sake of awfulness, I'm glad he did.

"Hedgie" is a hedgehog of Brett's creation. His adventures include traveling into space and helping protect a hen friend from egg theft. He's a cute enough little guy, but he has a terrible secret, one that doesn't come across on the printed page -- his voice is fucking annoying. This wouldn't normally be a problem for a literary character, but Brett keeps finding ways to subject visitors to Hedgie's yowl. "Hedgie's Alphabet" involves matching pictures of animals and objects with their names; see the word "otter," drag it to the otter illustration. Unfortunately, if you mouse over the drawings, Hedgie's horrifying voice screeches out a description. Ostensibly this exercise builds word-to-picture association, but if you're old enough to have developed this skill, all it does is ensure you'll never again encounter any word Hedgie shrieks, from "xylophone" to "nightgown," without hearing his shrill caterwaul echo in your ears.

Hedgie speaks several other places on Brett's site. He narrates the book Hedgie Loves to Read, a performance that, if it doesn't kill a child's love for reading, will at least permanently damage his or her love of listening. Also, he delivers the voiceover for "How to Draw Hedgie in a Spacesuit," a video that's nearly 18 minutes long. I'm not sure if he talks during that clip's entire duration, because I stopped watching after reaching the average human threshold for Hedgie-voice exposure, 20 seconds. However, due to the random-words-being-shouted factor, only "Hedgie's Alphabet" really fits the mental image Hedgie's voice conjures: A deranged old lady brandishing a knife at an orderly.

– Andrew "Garbage Day" Miller

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