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  • Hug
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Virtually wordless yet convincingly lovable. That's probably the best way to describe Jez Alborough's sweet, "Hug". I'm not usually taken in by cutesy picture books. For me, if a book is going to be sweet it needs a little added spice. The kind of stuff you find in Janet Stoeke's, "Minerva Louise" books, for example. So the image of a baby chimp opening its arm wide crying, "Hug", is not supposed to charm me. Unexpectedly, it did.

In this tale, a baby chimpanzee sees different baby/parent animals hugging one another. Bobo (that's the chimp's name, it turns out) at first is delighted. He points and yells, "Hug", whenever he gets a chance. But soon it's clear to the little guy that he's alone and there's no one for him to hug. A friendly pair of elephants take pity on the fellow and set out to locate his parent. Along the way they see more and more animals hugging in their own special ways. Bobo lets go with an awe inspiring, "HUG" when at long last his mommy arrives. The two hug (to a chorus of other animals saying, "Hug") and before you know it everyone's hugging everyone else. At the end, it's just Bobo and his mommy walking off together at last.

This book has all the usual toddler fears in it. The separation from the parent. Seeing a bunch of other people happy when you're not. I appreciated that author/illustrator Alborough didn't make her animals hug in incorrect ways. Which is to say, you don't see two giraffes standing on their hind legs hugging with their front ones. Instead, they nuzzle. Bobo himself is a pretty sympathetic creation too. The slow dawning realization that he doesn't have anyone to hug is heartbreaking. Also, Alborough was clever to cast him as her hero. Chimpanzees hug just like humans do, so kids will identify intrinsically with the reunited mother and son. The illustrations in this book never become treacly, and even the massive everybody-hugs-everybody scene at the end doesn't overflow into schmaltz. It's just a sweet book with a sweet message of hugging.

When I checked this book out of the library, the check out girl's reaction to the cover was, "awwww". That pretty much sums up the book right there. It may not contain the wit of an "Olivia" storyline or the artistic breadth and depth of a Chris Van Allsburg creation, but it's got heart. And heart, whatever else people might say, is very hard to create. A great lovable tale.
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on November 14, 2000
This is a fantastic picture book. First, in its simplicity of language, for there are only three words in this story. But that doesn't mean that it is less than any other picture book. Quite the contrary, the incredibly expressive characters, especially our main character, Bobo, are illustrated with complete heart and soul. Bobo's quest for a hug is truly heartbreaking at times, yet the final hug is the epitome of happiness and comfort. Children will have a great time identifying all the animals and watching a friendship develop between Bobo and the elephants. If you hug your own kid everytime someone in the story hugs, you will have a great time, too!!
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on January 9, 2001
Although Amazon's recommended reading age for this book is 4-8, I have seen other sources list the appropriate ages as 1-5. My almost 2 year old received this book as a gift and instantly fell in love with it. With only three words in the entire story, the book encourages creative storytelling, while the wonderful illustrations depict a wide range of emotions. The characters, all of whom are parent and child jungle animals, are charming and loveable. Be prepared to reread it over and over, and ENJOY doing so!
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on January 21, 2002
Little Chimp travels through the jungle, and sees all his baby animal friends from elephants, lions, and hippos, to chameleons, giraffes, and even snakes, happily cuddling and hugging their mommies. HUG he repeats, over and over as he watches his friends. Pretty soon it's obvious that Little Chimp needs a big hug from his mommy, too, but she's nowhere to be found. Just as he sits down and begins to cry, we see Mommy Chimp running toward her baby, smiling, arms outstretched, ready to love, hug, and comfort him..... HUG is a clever, simple, and gentle picture book told through Jez Alborough's marvelously expressive and detailed illustrations. Little ones will easily be able to understand the story, and enjoy identifying all the jungle animals as they hug each other and try to help Little Chimp. With its happily-ever-after ending to reassure and comfort children as young as one, HUG is a lovely addition to your youngster's first bookshelf, and a sweet, feel-good story that shouldn't be missed.
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on November 29, 2001
As an educator I could launch into the value this book has in building emergent literacy, because the words are simple and sparse, and the illustrations are big and beautiful. Everything I could say about these things would be accurate and would make this book a great choice for your personal collection at home.
However, that would overlook the more important truth, which is that everyone I show this book to just falls in love with it. From the tiniest children to the most esteemed elders, everyone is simply enchanted. There is something so universal about the situation of wanting to be close to our most loved ones that is so tenderly captured in these remarkably intuitive scenes.
The fact that readers have the ability to personalize the tale with their own ad-libbing makes the story perfect for my little one, who never fails to feel concern for Bobo's plight, and tremendous reassurance in the knowledge that the missing Mommy always comes back to her beloved baby. It is a perfect book for snuggling down to sleep, and in my house it practically guarantees sweet dreams.
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on May 5, 2003
I bought this book and read it to my son as a bedtime story. My son is 3 years 1 month old and was diagnosed with apraxia (he can not tell his mouth to make the words he wants to say). He has a very limited speaking vocabulary (10 words) and is unable to say most letters or words correctly. In addition, he has been diagnosed as MIMH..
On Thursday night, voluntarily without my asking him to, he read the book with me. Each time I said a word, he would say it too. "Hug" occurs many times and "Mommy" and "Bobo" each twice. He was reading and voluntarily speaking! The next morning he read the book to my mom without me saying the words first! Not every book can meet the needs of special needs children, but this one can and does. Buy it! and you will see many rewards with your child. Another good book is Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Plus as an adult you'll enjoy both of these books too!
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on March 19, 2005
When my husband and I first "read" this book it brought tears to our eyes. We thought we were just being overly emotional in those first few sleep-deprived days after coming home from the hospital with our newborn daughter - but nearly one year later, it still has the same effect!

We started reading Hug to our daughter when she was just 3 months old. We were amazed when, at 8 months, she started pointing to the pictures and getting excited each time she saw baby monkey bobo. While she showed interest in other board books, nothing captivated her in the same way that "Hug" did. At first, she simply seemed to enjoy the jungle animals, but we were surprised at how quickly she seemed to fully understand Bobo's plight, mock crying as he sat on his rock and cried, and squealing with joy as Mummy monkey finally swings into sight.

I can't help thinking that this masterful and enchanting book has actually helped our daughter to develop her emotional awareness, while having fun at the same time. I would strongly recommend this book to every new parent!!
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VINE VOICEon February 28, 2002
..after just one read, this is one book he will pull out from the shelf or request by saying hug book. He gets sad along with bobo in the middle of the book, and he gets so so happy at the end of the book and both the mommies get their hugs. I have to confess, I get a hug whenever anyone gets a hug:-) (Daddy gets hugs too when he reads the book to him)
The illustrations are clear, and engaging -- you and your child can't help but empathize with all of the wonderfully drawn expressions. This one is a classic!
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on December 9, 2005
Because this is truly a picture book with very few words (hug, bobo, mommy), it encourages creativity/storytelling skills in toddlers and young children. The story progresses nicely with the little monkey encountering different mother/baby animals while looking for his own mother to hug. (This is MY interpretation!) My two-year-old daughter, on the other hand, can tell numerous stories while "reading" this book herself! I find great joy and take great pride in listening to her tell me the story of the monkey in the rainforest...or the monkey in the woods...or the monkey in the trees...whatever she decides it will be each time! I highly recommend this book if you want to encourage your child to use his/her imagination!
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on November 15, 2005
My brother and sister are just learning how to read and this book is an emense help. Through out the book there is just one word, hug, so they are really getting familier with the word hug and the sounds that h, u, and g make. A lovely board book!
0Comment8 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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