Tuesday, February 09, 2021

What the World Needs Now...? HUG? by Charlene Chua

When a PURR goes to HACK! HACK!, resulting in a hairball, a girl asks her cat...


"Okay.... Thank you."

That went well, thinks the girl... as a dog approaches, from page left, and requests equal time for canines.

Fair enough. the girl shrugs and gives a hug. But then a pair of ducks, drake AND hen, ask for hugs--feathery, flappy hugs that muss the girl's perfect pony tail and wrinkle her crisp golf shirt, to the consternation of the cat. But then... a skunk, rife with odours, approaches.


The girl holds her nose (her cat likewise!) and hugs the skunk.

The deed is done. But, Yikes! What's this? A BEAR? It's only fair!

"BEAR HUG!!!!"

But this is getting ridiculous! A PORCUPINE? Ouchy, ouchy, Oh, oh, OW!

The girl's shirt is a mass of wrinkles and her pony tail has melted into a mess of frizzies, when, what to her eyes doth appear...

Is that a TIGER? The girl is not sure that a hug is what he's really after! She gulps as the big beast tries to swallow her cat.

The girl declares snacking on the pets disallowed. But what's this? Now appears what looks like a very supercilious unicorn!



Suddenly the girl is surrounded by an attack of other critters, including what looks like a tentacled green space alien! Hugging is good, yes, but when it turns into a mugging, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing....!

Is it time to STOP? Should the hugs really end right here?

But not until that smug unicorn gets his due in the finale, in Charlene Chua's brilliant take on THE HUG in her hilarious new title, Hug? (Kids Can Press, 2020). With a touch of satire, a bit of Seussian humor, and a sprinkle of truth, this one is sure to please preschoolers and primary readers as well during Valentine season. Illustrator Chua uses her considerable art skills to build just right amount of suspense, slapstick, and good sense into this story of that powerful symbol of affection, the hug, best utilized with some discretion! Says Kirkus Reviews, "This silly romp is sure to elicit giggles while promoting emotional intelligence."

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