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I Want a Hug Hardcover – September 20, 2007
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Several weird things about this book.
1. The hedgehog is obviously a baby (in diapers). My sons wanted to know where his parents were and why they didn't hug him.
2. The people he asks for hugs don't just say, "I'm sorry, but I can't, your prickles might hurt me." They give the hedgehog mean looks, tell him "Shoo! Go away!", "Certainly not!", "Oooo no!", "Go away!", "Please let go of my leg!", and laugh at him. This is a BABY who is asking for a HUG. So awful. I did not read the actual words to our boys. I made it sound as if the people just said, "I'm sorry, but I can't! The prickles are too sharp!"
3. My sons wanted to know why no one came up with an inventive idea for how to give the hedgehog a hug, such as put a thick blanket on him. There is no creativity about that here.
4. At the end of the book, the hedgehog finds a crocodile who is asking everyone for a kiss. But instead of being wary of his teeth, the people tell the crocodile they won't kiss him because "Oooh no, you're much too ugly!" I was kind of shocked when I read that and told the boys it was just because of his scary teeth.
5. Why is an adult crocodile going around asking random people for kisses?
The hedgehog kisses the crocodile, and the hedgehog gets a hug. It has cute illustrations, but it's too creepy.
The story does teach empathy, and how rejection can really hurt. My son let out an audible "Aww." But there's gotta be better books out there to teach these same things!
The illustrations might be another minor annoyance I'll mention as well. The hedgehog is in a diaper, but nowhere does it say why he's out on his own; so, my son (just 4) wanted to know where his parents were and I couldn't begin to explain it. Then the crocodile, who looks old: my son wanted to know why he wanted to go around trying to kiss people. Even at 3 he understands that hugging someone other than family is fine, but kissing is usually NOT OK.
It was just kinda strange, but sweet too, cause it all works out well for both in the end. For me, I wouldn't read it to kids who can actually read the words for that UGLY comment alone.