The Hug, by Eoin McLaughlin | Book Review

Book Review of The Hug
The Children’s Book Review

The Hug by Eoin McLaughlin Book Cover

Written by Eoin McLaughlin

Illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Ages 3-6 | Pages 48

Publisher: Faber and Faber | ISBN: 978-0-5713-4875-6

What to expect: Hugs and friendship

Hedgehog and Tortoise are both looking for a little something lovable – a hug! But Hedgehog is a bit too…spikey. Every animal he asks to hug him practically runs away in terror! Fox has to run off and knock over some garbage cans, Squirrel is “too busy” counting her three measly nuts, and the magpie bird had to sing a very squawky song! Wise Owl, however, tells Hedgehog the truth: he’s just a bit too spiky for most animals to hug. But not to worry, because someone is just right out there, somewhere, ready to hug him.

Tortoise is too hard to hug, the other animals think, and he walks along asking for hugs from all his forest friends. Badger is too sticky and scarfing down berries and cannot hug poor Tortoise. Rabbit has to dig a very important (and very dirty!) hole, and Frog has to jump off to do whatever it is that frogs have to do. When he comes across the wise forest owl, Owl tells him that although he’s too boney for most to consider hugging, there is definitely someone out there perfect to hug him.

So when Tortoise and Hedgehog find each other, they run up and give the biggest, friendliest spiky/bony hug there ever was, and they are thrilled. And it was all thanks to Tortoise’s unique and bony shell and Hedgehog’s very different and spiky back.

This fun story about friendship and differences comes alive with poignant, sweet illustrations of these lively forest animals. And with two stories in one, children will get to see both sides of this adorable story! After reading Hedgehog’s side, flip the book over and start tortoises’ story. They meet in the middle with a very friendly, wonderful hug! There are tiny details in each illustration, like the sticky berries and clumps of dirt on Tortoises back, that can be found in Hedgehog’s story, creating a fun easter-egg surprise during re-reads.

Children will love the silly excuses each forest animal makes about not hugging the tortoise or the hedgehog, and they will be so excited to see that they finally find each other! With funny but sweet language and clever illustrations, The Hug is the perfect story for bedtime or storytime.

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Eoin McLaughlin

About the Author

Eoin McLaughlin was born in Ireland, moved to the UK, and now lives in London with his wife and their new baby. Along the way, he has written several books and is unbearably excited for them to come out. This is his debut picture book, with many more in the pipeline.

Polly Dunbar

About the Illustrator

Polly Dunbar is one of the most well-known illustrators working today. Polly’s bestselling book, Penguin, has won numerous awards and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Polly is the illustrator of Shoe Baby, Pat-a-Cake Baby, and two picture books written by David Almond. Polly lives in the Waveny Valley, Suffolk, with her partner and their two boys.

The Hug, written by Eoin McLaughlin, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like The Hug by following our reviews and articles tagged with Friendship and Animals.

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July 29, 2021 at 12:35PM Denise Mealy