Review Blog

Jan 18 2016

I need a hug by Aaron Blabey

cover image

Scholastic, 2016 ISBN 9781743629093
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Humour, Affection, Friendship. After looking at the endpapers, everyone will understand that this is the ultimate feel good tale, with the first endpaper covered in negatives: no, get away, spikes, shoo and help, while the last endpaper is covered in much more positive words: ahh, ooh, kiss kiss, hugs, kisses and cuddles. Children will know that the book starts out with someone wanting a hug, and end up with it happening, so will be intrigued about how all the lovely words intertwine to make a story. I certainly was.
Blabey tells a wonderful tale and the idea that even a prickly echidna or hedgehog is after a cuddle and a hug will delight the readers.
He is thwarted in his desire all through the book, as each animal he approaches runs away. The rabbit, reindeer and bear all run off into the distance after being asked, but when they begin to run towards him, he is elated that they have changed their minds. The conclusion will have small children and adults laughing out loud. And any child, parent or teacher will take the opportunity to initiate a group hug.
I love Blabey's illustrations. His animals stand out on the single colour pages, and the boldly outlined word bubbles will encourage readers to learn the repeated words. The eyes have it as desire, fear, elation and utter bliss are all expressed in Blabey's acrylic creatures. Children will laugh with glee at the outcome and perhaps ponder on the impetus of all creatures to desire tender moments.
Fran Knight

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