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Go on, give me a hug!
Hug - Jez Alborough
Member Name: historywitch
Hug - Jez Alborough
Date: 17/04/07, updated on 17/04/07 (409 review reads)
Advantages: You can use your imagination to make the story as long or as short as you like.
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, don’t 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t 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 doesn’t 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 Olivia’s 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!!
Summary: A lovely book to share with all ages.