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My son received this book free from our local library as part of the bookstart programme. The book is so simple, I would have overlooked this had it not been free.
The book is small, bright coloured and printed on very sturdy card or board, making it ideal for little hands. As one would expect from Jez Alborough, the artwork is of the highest quality, with well detailed, brightly coloured lifelike illustrations on each page.
The text is unbelievably simple using only the word hug on all but two pages which also have single words, "Bobo" and "Mummy". It was the fact that there is so little text that originally put me off on this book. My first impression was that it lacked a story because it lacked much text. i was completely wrong. On closer inspection, the book has a brilliant and very touching story, which is well conveyed by the illustrations. The single word hug adds a emotional aspect to it, making this book truly touching.
Of course the children caught on to the true value of this book immediately. While I had to look closer to see, why they loved it so much, they took to it at once and it became a fast favourite as soon as it came into the house. My 5 year old still really enjoys this book, which is good because he can read it to his younger brother too. The youngest adores it and can listen to it 20 times in a row, which I must say I do find a bit tedious with so few words. Of course he adds his own words to the story, pointing to different animals and saying, "nooooo, that's not the Mommy", counting the number of lion cubs, naming animals and so on. And even though he has heard this into the thousands of times his face still lights up at the end.
Hug - Jez Alborough
A Hug is Better than Any Words
When I opened a library account for my daughter at eight months old we were given a set of books from Bookstart absolutely free and 'Hug' was one of these books. You can also buy this book for as little as £1.00 and sometimes less on Amazon, though I wanted to mention Bookstart as it is a great opportunity for young children to get free books in their childhood years.
As the book came from Bookstart I thought I would tell you a little about Bookstart before I tell you about this particular book.
Bookstart is a national programme focusing on enabling both children and adults of children to enjoy books from a young age and is run by a charity called Booktrust. It first began in 1992 in Birmingham to undertake research in the effects of early book sharing in young child development and has since then grown into a full blown project giving many children free books and incentives to read. In 2004 Gorden Brown announced funding so that all children could benefit from the free books at three different stages of their life before they started school. I have had one of the stages for my daughter at the moment - the under 12 months stage, which is where this book came from. The next stage is at two years of age and then another between 3-4 years of age. These books are given by libraries when you take in your little red book.
To read more about Bookstart please look at the link below;
The book is a small hardback and hard pages book though not too small for very young children. The pages and cover are quite thick so difficult for youngsters to bend and impossible to tear (until they get older and decide to see if they can peel back the thin covering on the pages which is what has started to happen with my daughter!).
The cover is bright yellow, and when I say bright I mean that you nearly have to invest in some sunglassed if you plan on looking at it for too long! On the front is an image of the monkey who the story is about with bold bubble writing 'Hug' in a speech bubble. Simple yet apt for young babies under the age of 12 months. The back cover has four of the other animals seen in the book all smiling and looking off to the side with the Bookstart logo on the side.
When I chose the title for this review I purposely said that a hug is better than 'any' words because it describes this book completely. There are no words at all in this book except for the word 'hug' which makes it difficult to read to a young child. Of course you could make up the words if you wanted though it would be the same throughout the whole book as every page shows the same thing - the baby monkey asking each of the animals for a hug, though every animal is already hugging its own baby/mother.
The story is told in bright pictures which range from whole double page size to three on a double page. They are absolutely lovely pictures and even though there is no story my daughter even now likes to look through the book following the monkey and seeing the other animals. She actually gets quite upset when the monkey looks as though he is crying which shows even without words, children can make up the story in their own heads and that the pictures really do tell the story.
At fist the monkey is alone asking for hugs from the various animals and then the elephant mum helps the monkey find someone to hug without any success for many pages until the monkey cries 'HUG!' and sits in the center of all the animals in tears until the mummy monkey comes in and hugs the baby monkey and all the animals cheer 'hug' and smile - a nice little ending!
The book is actually 30 pages long so quite a nice length and although there is no real words, my daughter really loved this book. I found it quite annoying when she wanted me to 'read' it to her though as all there was is the repetitive 'hug' throughout the whole book though it wasn't long before my daughter learnt that exact word and what it meant so my annoyance at the repetitiveness worked out well and now I am glad I kept reading it to her.
As I mentioned before, this book is free on the first stage of Bookstart but it can be brought on Amazon very cheap. It isn't the best of books though babies do seem to love it and for the price of nothing it is lovely. It is durable and colourful with some lovely pictures and now at the age of nearly two my daughter still loves it - naming all of the different animals herself. The 'story' is actually quite sweet despite the lack of words.
I do recommend this though only because of the free price or low low price online. It doesn't have a RRP on the book as it is originally for Bookstart I believe though I wouldn't recommend paying loads for it.
Hug is a lovely little board book for small children. The short story focuses on a little monkey who wanders through the jungle and sees all the other animals having a hug with each other. As he passes them by, he says the word HUG - this is one of only three words used in the whole book - the others being "Mummy" and "Bobo" - the little monkey and his Mummy.
He gets sadder and sadder that he has no-one to hug him until his Mummy appears and gives him a great big hug. He then proceeds to give all the jungle animals a hug to celebrate and say thank you for helping him find his Mummy.
This book is a favourite of my 13 month old toddler, she loves looking at the illustrations and has a sad face when Bobo is sad and then smiles when Bobo's Mummy appears. The real joy of this book is that encourages you to make up the story for your child and we act it out to bring it even more to life and to get a reaction from our little one. She loves looking at all the animals and making their sounds, such as the hissing snakes and the roaring lions.
A lovely, endearing tale with lovely drawings - we got this book free from the Book Start Trust via our Health Visitor but it is available on Amazon for around £4.49 - a great addition to any child's home library.
'Hug' by Jez Alborough is another one of those books you just have to have on your bookshelf (along with all the other Jez Alborough books)!
As there is only one word in this entire story 'hug' the pictures are extremely important to enable you to understand its meaning. The story is set in the jungle. All of the animals in the jungle have someone to hug - the elephants, tigers, snakes etc, except for one lonely young monkey. The monkey wonders round the jungle coming across the family groups (mummys and their offspring) of animals who are all hugging, each time he comes across another animal he feels more in need of a hug, and gets more and more upset. The elephants set out to help him taking him around the jungle to find someone to hug. The end of the story is a happy one and the monkey finds his mummy to hug.
As there is only one word in this story the illustrations have to be very good in order to get the point acorss, to show the emotions felt and they are. They are colourful and come alive as you read and talk to your little one about the story. Of course you don't have to say just one word, you can explain what is happening as you read. You can make up your own little story, and that is one of the delights of this book, encouraging you and your little one to share in the excitement of storytelling.
This book can be purchased as a board book or as paperback and their is also a gift set with a toy monkey. The paperback has an RRP of £5.99 and is published by Walker books.
Hug by Jez Alborough is a simple idea for a book but very effective. A baby monkey is lost in the jungle and all he wants is a cuddle, he sees lots of different animals in their family groups as he walks and they are all cuddling and snuggling together so he feels very alone.
The only word used in the whole book is 'Hug' and the story is expertly told using the facial expression of the baby monkey along with the gestures and body language of the other animals. The drawings are super and the baby monkey in particular is rendered so that his face is full of expectation each time he sees a group of animals, only for it to turn to disappointment when he realises his mum isn't there. On each page the baby monkey holds his arms out and the word 'Hug' is there, my 12 month old granddaughter knows the word hug and wraps her arms around me whenever I read the word from the book. She also points at the monkey and strokes his face as if she is aware of his sadness at not having a hug when he wants one.
My favourite animals in the book are the elephants because they look so sympathetic towards the baby monkey and are drawn in a lovely way making them look almost like they could make very good foster parents should monkey not be able to find his mum! In fact all the animals through the book are drawn beautifully and they have a sweetness about them that made both me and my granddaughters love looking at the pictures.
Hug is a very entertaining book, I thought my baby granddaughter would be bored because there aren't many words but she really enjoys pointing at all the animals for me to name them and I usually make the story up myself so that she can hear my voice while looking at the pictures. Older children and adults can follow the story from the pictures but I think toddlers would need it explaining because they are not expert enough at reading facial expression to properly realise what's going on.
This is a sweet and friendly book, even though the baby monkey is sad that he can't find his mum there is no distress and I get the impression that the author and illustrator were going for a fun way of showing that it's not terribly scary to be separated from mum for a while. He is helped out by all the friendly jungle animals and it's obvious that he is making friends all through his journey, just like any good childrens book the characters all are simply drawn and attractive to look at with big smiling faces and friendly poses.
Hug is a board book so it is very durable, there is no damage to my granddaughters copy even though she has had it for a good 3 or 4 months now and I allow her to play with it herself. It only cost me around £1.50 from Books Etc... and it was definitely money well spent.
This review has previously appeared on mumsnet under the same user name.
Kids, eh? You spend all this money on reading material for them and they get fixated on one book (this cant be just my child, can it?). For days you are endlessly requested to read this favourite until you can repeat it in your sleep, dont even have to look at the words any more and would quite happily strangle the author. Any attempts to influence this choice or guide gently in the direction of other material is barely tolerated or treated with undisguised contempt. Luckily after a week of endless Gruffalo mummy, my daughter chose this book as her new favourite.
Hug is the simple story of Bobo the chimpanzee who is walking through the jungle. As he walks he sees an elephant and their baby having a hug, which makes him sad as he doesnt have anyone to hug. The elephant picks him up and take him to find his mummy, passing lots of other animals who are hugging their children. Just as Bobo has given up his mummy turns up and they have a lovely hug with all the other animals.
The best thing about this book in my opinion is that it only has three words in it Hug, Bobo and Mummy, Hug being repeated on almost every page. This means that your passage through the book can be as long or short as you like, because you get to tell the story. We are always being told how important it is to talk to our children, but many (including me) find it difficult, especially when they are pre-verbal, or have very few words. A book like this provides the catalyst for a conversation or discussion with your child as you are not distracted by the words, which frees you up to use your own imagination. This also makes this an ideal book for a wide age range, really young children will enjoy looking at the bright and colourful animal pictures, whereas older children will enjoy helping you create a story of their own.
One way I have used this book is to discuss simple emotions, such as happy and sad, an area which this book particularly lends itself too. The little chimp gets sadder and sadder as the book goes on and the expressions are particularly well drawn. The reunion scene at the end (which goes on for three or four pages), is so well illustrated that I could feel a lump welling up in my throat. I believe that this book has really helped my daughter to understand other people, she will tell me when people (and recently a goat at the zoo who had lost her baby goat) are sad and attempts to give them a hug (the goat didnt appreciate it much!). Hug is also handy for slipping in a little gentle reminder about why you should stay close to mummy or daddy when out and about and how it might make you feel when you are lost. My daughter likes to snuggle in close and to really hold me tight when we are reading it, she often empathises with the chimp to the extent that she will get a little upset when he is lost and does a little dance when he finds his mummy (and of course I get a wonderful cuddle at the end too which I love).
The drawings are bright and appealing cartoon animals, warm and affectionate to complete the feel-good vibe of this book. They are beautifully drawn and laid out on the page to draw you in and the double page spreads of the animals cuddling are a pure joy to look at, guaranteed to make any cold hearted miser smile!
My husband has had problems with it though because it only shows two animals cuddling. This has meant that our daughter has designated the bigger animals as mummy, so when he reads it he doesnt get the same experience that I do- mainly because Olivia leaps off his lap to give me a cuddle at the right points, rather than him. There are no pictures of a family group cuddling together, which he has found a little irritating. He also likes to have more words in books, but as I pointed out we have a whole library full of words so this book is a welcome break.
This book was an excellent purchase for us and I have felt no desire to strangle Jez Alborough yet. A quick search on his name on Amazon shows that he has written two other similar books Yes and Tall, which appear to run along the same lines, which I may investigate for Olivias birthday.
Hug is available for £4.99 from Amazon, with Marketplace copies starting at £0.01.
Also comes in a board book version (£4.99): ISBN: 0744588332
Or for £5.95 you can get the book and a soft toy chimp as well
I have loved reading this book to Olivia, it has been a very enjoyable break from the Gruffalo and The Very Hungry Catapillar and long may it continue as a favourite. However I am off to hide both of those books, just in case!!
As anyone who has read any of my recent reviews will have noticed, I have a passion for books. I think one of the most important and worthwhile things a parent can do, is read to their children.
In my opinion, it gives them an appreciation of the written word, encourages them to learn, and helps to develop the bond between parent and child.
My latest reviews have been dedicated to childrens books, as I wanted to share some of my childrens favourites, and pass on recommendations to other parents.I know each child has different favourites, but my children seem to share my taste too.
I buy lots of Walker Book publications, and HUG is one that I purchased in a set with several others.
HUG is written and illustrated by Jez Alborough.He has written other books such as Duck in the Truck and Ducks Day Out. I have not read any of his other books, so I cannot say how Hug compares.After purchasing this one, i am in no hurry to do so.
The main problem is, there really is not one. The book relies almost totally on the illustrations to tell us the story. There are only 3 words in the entire story, which are Hug, Mummy and BoBo.
Hug to obviously describe the action of the various animals hugging.BoBo is the name of the little monkey, and Mummy is his Mummy.
The illustrations are very well done.
They use bright vibrant colours to depict loads of different animals, such as elephants, snakes, giraffes, lizards, lions, and of course BoBo, the focus of the story.
The background drawings contain a fair amount of detail, and enhance the whole of the picture.
Each page is a visual delight for any child who loves animals and colour.
The animals are not too cuddly looking, nor are they too scary for a younger reader.
The pictures tell the story of BoBo, who sees all the other animals hugging, and wants a hug himself, but he cannot see his mummy. An elephant gives him a hug, as do lots of the other animals, but this is not the same as a hug from his Mummy.
At the end, his mother spots him from a tree and they are reunited.
I have to say I found this book a huge disappointment. It could be argued that it would be ideal for babies just to look at, but in my experience, children are soothed and entertained more by the sound of the accompanying story than by the detail of the illustrations.
My only fault with the illustrations, is the length of the giraffes eye lashes. Petty I know, but they would be ideal for advertising Maybelline or something.
The fact that HUG is repeated over and over again, does nothing to add to the book. It may reinforce the word for a child to remember, but I really just wanted a story to accompany the excellent drawing.
When I have read this to children in the past, I have invented my own commentary to go along with it, and encouraged them to do the same, otherwise the children have tired of it quickly, and this I think is a shame. Even a simple storyline would have made it's interest to children improve.
On the whole, I would give nine and a half for the illustration, but only an average of four for the whole book.
I thing that on the whole, the potential of the book as a whole was wasted by its lack of substantial story.
HOPE THIS IS OF SOME HELP. SUE XXX
This is a very interesting picture book by Jez Alborough. When I first read it with my daughter I have to say that I was a little disappointed because in the entire book there are actually only three different words. However, I have since come to realise that that doesn't stop it being a brilliant little book.
Basically it is the story of a little chimp called Bobo who is wandering through the jungle seeing lots of different animals. All these animals are in pairs or more and therefore they each have a friend or a relation to hug!
Bobo sees elephants, snakes, chameleons, lions, giraffes, hippos etc. They are always hugging. Every time he comes across a new set of animals he points at them and says 'HUG!'. However, as time goes on he gradually looks sadder and sadder because he has no one to hug himself! All the animals are starting to be quite concerned about Bobo until finally he is sitting alone bawling his eyes out (very sad!).
All of a sudden there is a loud call - 'BOBO' and Bobo looks up into the trees and sees 'MUMMY'. Finally Bobo gets his hug which makes all the other creatures happy as well.
There is a nice twist on the final page though as all the animals hug each other, but they don't just hug their own breed - there are giraffes hugging elephants, chameleons hugging snakes etc.
Therefore, although I was initially disappointed with so few words, I now realise that there is a very strong story told through the pictures which gives my daughter the opportunity to tell the story in her own words. There is also so much to discuss - how it feels to be alone, how lovely it is to hug - and even at the end you can touch on how important it is for everyone to get on with each other.
The illustrations in this book are excellent which is really important because you have to rely on them to tell the story. All the creatures are very lifelike and the expressions on their faces portray a range of emotions! The colours are wonderful too.
The book is published by Walker Books and is made from good quality paper. It has an RRP of £4.99 but I bought mine as part of a collection from The Book People for a lot less. (see my review)
This certainly is a warm happy book with lots to talk about. After reading it with me, my little girl goes around demanding lots of hugs from everyone, so one of the best consequences of reading this book is that there are lots of hugs in our house!!