cover image Hug


Jez Alborough. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1287-0

With a cheerful chimp nearly as sweet as Curious George and a text of only three words, Alborough (It's the Bear!; Where's My Teddy?) celebrates the pleasure of giving and receiving good hugs, as well as the joy inherent in finding just the right word. ""HUG,"" says a tiny chimp as he watches two lizards embrace and two pythons entwine. ""HUG,"" he explains to a mother elephant and her baby who notice the chimp's forlorn expression. They decide to help him find what he's looking for and ride past an affectionate lion family, two giraffes and two hippos. But the disappointed chimp simply dissolves into tearsDto the consternation of all the jungle animals. Suddenly the chimp's mother appears. ""BOBO,"" she shouts; ""MUMMY,"" answers the chimp, and readers quickly realize that it's not just a hug the chimp wants, but a hug from his very own mother. Like a wordless book, the story unfolds through a series of expressive pictures rather than language. Alborough makes clear the chimp's distress as he tries to communicate with only the repeated word ""HUG,"" and the elation the animals gain from their shared affection. Ages 2-up. (Nov.)