I think I’m going to file this one as a read-a-like for The Bear Who Wasn’t There, which I’ve blogged about before. Not only because it’s an adorable picture book featuring two bears who don’t seem to be all there, but also because there are a few little nods and winks here and there to the reader. (You’ll see Little Red Riding Hood make a cameo here, for example!)
This father and son bear duo in Hug Me, Please! is enlivened by their breakfast honey, encouraging them to spread the happiness and cheer to all the inhabitants of the forest, from Mr. Beaver, who is absolutely petrified even just entertaining the idea of a hug, to the neighbourhood hunter, by giving everyone a nice big hug. Of course, not all hugs are created equal: they tailor each of their hugs to the recipients so that old Mr. Elk gets the perfect hug from little Bear and the Anaconda gives Papa Bear a nice great squeeze (I’m sure nothing untoward was happening, because Papa Bear goes along his merry way afterwards). Even the neighbourhood hunter gets a hug! (Only after being disarmed of his net though – is he a butterfly hunter?)
The illustrations are adorable, and the texture visible in each of the animals’ fur makes for a great detail. The storyline is easy to follow and the repetitive nature of the plot would make for a fun and interactive storytime. And it’s a bit late for this, but Hug Me, Please! would also be a wonderful story for Father’s Day.
Of course, I do have a little quibble – when do I not? – which you can find below the cut, but it should not deter you from picking up this delightful story!