Review: How To Hug A Cactus

When I lived far away from home, I had a pet cactus. 

His name was, Barney. Barney endured a lot including my inattention. The main character of this sensitive little tale doesn’t have such problems in fact his human is desperate to love him yet can’t work out how to shower him with hugs without the ensuing agony.

She confronts her problem head on, adopting the advice of various family members but nothing proves prickle-proof and she and her cactus remain at an unhuggable distance until a gardening guru inspires a solution.

Adorning her deluxe cactus-hugging gear, the little girl fulfils her belief that hugs will encourage strong healthy growth and reinstate her love for her special succulent friend.

How to Hug A Cactus is a picture book teaming with colour, light and gentle simple rhyming verse that will mean different things to different readers. As an adult, I relate to the heart-pricking impossibilities of living with a tween / teen during those irrational years. 

Younger readers will feel glorious affection for the little girl’s cactus companion who represents the various things for which small children invariably bestow unfathomable and unshakeable regard. These objects are often inanimate and impractical to love such as a toy, a favourite book, a snail, a pom pom or … a cactus. And yet, loved they are, even into adulthood…queue Barney.

For a fun and thought-prickling read, How To Hug A Cactus is a soft snuggly story about problem solving and friendship minus the spikes. It’s also a wonderful ode to the power of a good old hug.

Title:  How To Hug A Cactus
Author:  Emily S Smith
Illustrator:  Aleksandra Szmidt
Publisher:  Larrikin House, $24.99
Publication Date:  May 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781922503176
For ages: 3 – 8
Type: Picture Book

June 21, 2021 at 12:34PM DimbutNice