Review: Hug Me

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GoldAardvarkGoldAardvarkGoldAardvark 3/5 aardvarks

Format: Picture book
Age: 3-7
Author and illustrator: Patti Stren
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (December 2001)
Pages: 32
ISBN-10: 0060293179
ISBN-13: 978-0060293178

Elliot Kravitz, the porcupine who just wanted a hug, was first brought into the world via the picture book Hug Me in 1977. Now, this oddly-drawn, lonely creature has been reissued with newly colourized illustrations and some foil stamping on the cover. It’s a sweet book about a porcupine who can’t get anyone to hug him, even after trying a variety of strategies such as dressing up like a birthday present and a Christmas tree — but of course, he eventually finds another porcupine to give him a hug. The original version was charming despite, or because of, its strangely dysfunctional-looking characters, but the updated colouring job looks a bit like it was done in MS Paint and takes away from the homely appeal of the porcupines and other creatures. If you’re looking for a book about hugging, this is a decent one one, but do see if you can find the 1977 original.

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