Some people like hugs, some do not, but in Group Hug by Jean Reidy, Slug likes them and wants to give a hug. They find a lonely beetle and hug them. And then they find Mouse, and Skunk and Squirrel and all their other friends and pass along big group hugs. That is until Bear wants a hug. But nobody wants to be brave enough, after all bears are not known for their, shall we say vegetarian diets. This story is about kindness and knowing that when you hug someone you get one in return.
Joey Chou’s illustrations are sweet, colorful, and simply done. Yet, they are expressive and fun. They are silly and goofy and take the act of hugs very serious (as one should with something as important as a hug). Of course, knowing that the poor skunk and squirrel are a bit smelly, and porcupine loses their quills, and a sort of naked porcupine, is a little odd.
That was really the only part of the book I disliked. After all, yes, they can lose their quills like we can lose a fingernail, but they cannot “get nakey” and that was a bit off for me.
Otherwise, this is just a nice story and a nice anytime read. It works for all ages as the younger child can listen and the slightly older, just starting to read child can solo (and/or with help) read.
But unknown to me while reading Group Hug, I did not realize that I had recently read Sylvie by the same author. I am sorry to say did not care for as much as Group Hug but realized that there is a tone to their work. Both are sweet and simple but have a nice message.
In Sylvie, we have a spider who might live a little close to the dumpster but likes “her people” so stays there. There is an artist, and a planner and more. But one day she realizes that they are missing something. But what can one little, quiet spider do? It is up to Sylvie to find her “moxie” and try and help her people.
Lucy Ruth Cummins illustrates this picture book. The illustrations are simple, not overly colorful, but not dull either. They are a nice simple compliment to the equal simple, but good text/story. And while this story was not for me, if you like that old-fashion classical style of Happy Ever After, you should like all of Reidy’s works.