Where’s My Hug?

James Mayhew, Author, Sue Hellard, Illustrator , illus. by Sue Hellard. Bloomsbury $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-225-8

When Jake refuses his mother’s hug at the school door—“Everyone will think I’m a baby”—he just assumes it will be there to console him at the end of the day when, as Mayhew (Katie Meets the Impressionists ) diplomatically puts it, “Things hadn’t gone [his] way.” But Jake discovers that hugs don’t go into a personalized cold storage, but are rather part of a kind of cuddly continuum, traveling from one needy recipient to another, ad infinitum. Nonetheless, Jake is determined to reclaim his hug (hence the title) and so launches a quest that starts at his dad (who needed a hug because his motorcycle malfunctioned) and ends in a fairytale land with a very big red dragon. Hellard’s (Yake a Kiss to School ) ink-and-watercolor drawings have the fluid line, elegant air and well-heeled settings reminiscent of William Hamilton’s New Yorker cartooning; the urbane aesthetic keeps the book’s conceit from getting soggy and makes it a nice choice for bedtime. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/14/2008
Release date: 01/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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