I Need A Hug by Aaron Blabey
This is the third of the books that were written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey and were included in this year’s Notable List for Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year: Early Childhood.
This one is all about a small porcupine (the illustrations don’t have the nose to be an echidna) who just wants a hug. The other animals, for some reason, are opposed to giving the cute little thing a hug. They do in fact seem terrified at the prospect.
Porcupine is feeling very sad about the fact no one wants to give them a hug…but it turns out there is one animal that’s also very in want of a little kiss. And, no one wants to give them a kiss either.
Of the three books that were Notable – this, Pug the Fibber, and Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas, this is the only one that seems to be without an obvious moral message. I’m very pleased that Porcupine found Snake and it’s a very nice book with rhyming language and Aaron Blabey’s usual minimalist illustrations. He often doesn’t decorate the backgrounds of his pictures – using block colours instead which allows younger children to really focus on the smaller details of the character illustrations like the wonderful expressions that he is able to give all of his characters.
This book is great for print awareness, there are different fonts, in different sizes, all displayed in speech bubbles. These differences help children to begin identifying how tenses and emphasis are placed on different words as well as helping them when they move on to reading for themselves. There is repetition for younger children so they can get into the act of helping to ‘read’.
I would give this book three and a half out of five. I like it, but I don’t love it like I do the other two offerings from Aaron Blabey in the Notable list. I would read this with younger children than the other two as well – more one/two year olds than the 3+ for the other two offerings.
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