Written by Maryann Macdonald, Illustrated by Jana Christy
Marshall Cavendish Children, 2011
When you’re happy or sad, hugs can show how you feel, but hugs can be tricky!
You have to be careful not to hug anyone too tight or in such a way that you get stuck together. It’s important to know when to let go, so that you’re not holding on too long. If someone is angry, you should give them time before you try to hug them. Realize that some people are shy about hugging. Some folks might just want to hold hands or others might want a kiss on the cheek. It’s okay to speak up if you don’t want a hug. There are all kinds of hugs out there and lots of ways to feel about them. The best way to approach them is to open your heart, then open your arms and wrap them around someone.
Author Maryann Macdonald states on her website that she wrote this book while living in France, where she noticed that French people kiss others more than they hug them. This story covers a lot of the basics on hugging, including the fact that it’s not always the right time to hug someone (which is important) and the crucial issue of consent. Towards the end, when it just starts covering different types of hugs, it veers away from the ‘how to’ concept and it loses some steam, in my opinion. Jana Christy’s digital illustrations show nearly all of these hugs happening between children and animals, which gives them all an extra boost of cuteness. I liked the idea of the book more than the execution of it, but all things considered, I have to endorse anything that gets more people hugging.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that hugs can be awesome, but it’s good to know when and how to do it properly.