________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 18 . . . . May 10, 2002

cover Hug Me.

Patti Stren.
Markham, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 1977/2002.
32 pp., cloth, $19.99.
ISBN 0-439-98749-0.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Christina Neigel.

***1/2 /4

excerpt: image

Elliot longed for a friend. You see, the one thing he wanted more than anything else in the world was a big, tight HUG. The other porcupines wouldn't hug him. It's too hard, they said, to hug someone with quills.

Elliot Kravitz is unusual. He is a porcupine that pines for a friend and, more poignantly, a hug. According to the porcupines around him, porcupines don't need hugs. In fact, the other porcupines outline a number of advantages to being an unhuggable porcupine. Unconvinced, Elliot's yearning for closeness and his attempts to gain it further distance him from the porcupines around him. Determined to find a friend and a hug, Elliot makes numerous attempts to find both.

     Unfortunately, hugging telephone poles and other inanimate objects does not seem to work. Pretending to be things that he is not (like a birthday present) does not seem to work either. Dejected over his failed endeavors, Elliot unexpectedly finds what he is looking for in a predictable but satisfying ending.

     Elliot is a comical yet endearing figure who articulates the basic need in all of us. Perhaps it is for this reason that the book has returned as a 25th anniversary edition. Expanding on the sentimentality of the earlier version while preserving the whimsical nature of her original drawings, Patti Stren has reillustrated her work by adding a new plane of colour and dimension. The cartoonish style of Stren's characters reveals her unique imagination and sense of play. Some of the most touching and humorous moments in the book are in the sideline conversations and comments appearing in the illustrations.

     The wit and whimsy of this work are certain to appeal both to children and adults.

Highly recommended.

Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian at the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC.

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

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