________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 9. . . .November 4, 2016


I Need a Hug.

Aaron Blabey.
Toronto, NY: Scholastic Canada, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover, $14.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-4889-4.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4



I need
a hug.
Will you cuddle
me, Lou?


The book’s cover art and its title set the scene: what appears to be a young porcupine declares that it is in need of a hug. However, opening the book to its endpapers provides more than a bit of foreshadowing as the pages are covered with words of rejection, including No! No!, Shoo!, Get away! Prickles! Help! and Spikes! One by one, the little porcupine seeks a hug and a cuddle from his “friends” – Lou, the rabbit, Ken, the moose, and Moe, the bear. In turn, each runs away while shouting some of the rejection words from the opening endpapers. The poor little porcupine can only conclude:

No one will
hug me.
not very kind.

     Suddenly, things seem about to change for him as he sees all three of his friends rushing back towards him. However, he hasn’t read their facial expressions correctly as they show fear, not a desire to hug someone. The reason for the trio’s panic becomes clear on the next double-page spread which reveals the threesome’s rear ends departing one page as a snake’s head enters from the opposite page. It seems that the snake had asked the rabbit, moose and bear for a kiss.

internal art      Readers, of course, should be able to guess the book’s ending, one which sees the scale-covered snake safely providing the porcupine with the desired hug while the quill-protected porcupine can offer the snake a kiss without having to fear that it might be swallowed whole. The closing endpapers provide a warm counterpoint to the book’s opening ones as they are covered with words like: Kisses, Cuddles. Ahh!, Aww! and Lovely Hugs!

      Blabey use of only colour as the background for his illustrations is highly effective as it causes readers to focus on the small porcupine and its interactions with the book’s four other characters. The brief text is contained within speech bubbles, and different sized fonts are used to provide emphasis.

      Though short, I Need a Hug is a fun read with a subtle message. If Blabey’s illustration style looks familiar, that’s because he’s also the creator of the “Pig the Pug” series that has been positively reviewed in CM.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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