Hug Machine

Scott Campbell. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5935-9
A boy shows ample pride in his hugging prowess in this ode to spreading joy, the first book Campbell (If Dogs Run Free) has both written and illustrated. There’s no one and nothing that the protagonist—clad in shorts, a striped polo, and red boots—won’t hug. He’s so confident about the power of his “irresistible” hugs to calm people down, cheer them up, or “make the biggest feel small. The smallest feel big,” that he calls himself the Hug Machine. Spiky porcupine? No problem. The Hug Machine dons a facemask, oven mitts, and a pillow before going in for the squeeze. Super-huge whale? The Hug Machine slides down the whale’s back and hugs in increments. After a long day of hug-giving, the Hug Machine “can hug no more” and is scooped up into his mother’s arms. Campbell’s simply outlined watercolors exude warmth, emotion, and sly humor, from the deadpan expressions of several surprised recipients of the Hug Machine’s hugs to his own serenely closed eyes during each hug, which make it clear that he’s giving each hug his utmost. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/26/2014
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 36 pages - 978-1-5344-0026-9
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