The Hug

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Faber & Faber Children's
Publish Date
10.0 X 10.0 X 0.5 inches | 1.0 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

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 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.


"What to do when you're a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace! Sweet but 'tricky to hug' little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses--an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song--but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog's behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar's art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals' genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, "there's someone for everyone." That's when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its "very hard" shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise's perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that's made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding. Watching unlikely friends finally be as 'happy as two someones can be' feels like being enveloped in your very own hug."--Kirkus
"This book contains dual narratives, presented by flipping the book over, so that the stories intersect and come to a joyful conclusion in the middle. One story line follows Hedgehog, who is feeling sad and knows that only a hug will help. Hedgehog asks Fox, Squirrel, and Magpie for a hug, but each creature makes an excuse for why they cannot help out. Owl explains that Hedgehog is prickly, but says that there is 'someone for everyone.' Likewise, using the same repetitive text, Tortoise encounters Badger, Rabbit, and Frog. Owl explains that Tortoise's shell is very hard, but when Tortoise and Hedgehog meet, they discover that their hugs are perfect for one another. The illustrations are whimsical, depicting unique and expressive animal characters with humorous flourishes. The illustrations also convey that each of the animals has their own imperfections. Fox scatters garbage everywhere, Magpie has an unpleasant singing voice, and Badger is a very messy eater. These details help to underpin the message that while every hug is not for everyone, it takes all sorts to make a world. VERDICT A tender story that carries the message of embracing one's perceived shortcomings, best to be shared with early elementary students and the very young." -Kelly Topita, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD, School Library Journal
"Sometimes all you need is a little TLC, but that's easier said than done for a prickly-backed hedgehog and a hard-shelled tortoise. With adorable arms outstretched, the two embark from opposite sides of this innovative flip book as they encounter a parade of alarmed forest animals intent on declining their offers to embrace with one hilarious excuse after another--until Tortoise and Hedgehog meet in the middle, proving that there really is someone out there for everyone." -- Foreword Reviews
"Open this double-sided book one way and meet sad and very cute Tortoise, whose polite request for a restorative hug is met with equally polite but clearly cooked-up excuses from other animals ("Unfortunately, I'm digging a very important hole," says Rabbit, who isn't). "It's your shell," Owl explains. "It's just so very hard. But don't worry, there's someone for everyone." Flip the book over, and it's the same trajectory for sad and adorable Hedgehog, whose quills are the deal-breaker. Tortoise and Hedgehog retreat from the world into tight little spheres of shell and prickles, respectively, until they notice each other. In a vertically oriented spread that serves as a visual center between the two versions, they embrace without any qualms at all, "as happy as two someones can be." Debut author McLaughlin doesn't break new ground in this story of two lonely animals finding comfort and friendship, but he and Dunbar (A Lion Is a Lion) bring a good measure of wit to the story. Dunbar's animal portraits, drawn along a single, cream-colored plane with minimal background detailing, are funny and astute, suggesting that animals can be every bit as awkward and endearing as humans."-- Publishers Weekly
"This is a picture book for children in Day Care or Preschool and could even be used in Special education to teach about friendship and giving emotional support. The pictures were drawn throughout the story so a child could appreciate them as the story goes along. They used primary colors the children know as well as the language that was used throughout for it was simple to follow along with the repetition of some of the words. The way the physical book is setup it could also teach directionality. Other activities one could lead is to count the different animals, name the colors, and maybe even name the animals after reading or listening to the story. In other words this is a children's picture book for learning language, reading, math, science and emotional/social support." -- Book Room Reviews
"Such a simple little book, this offers a great amount of pleasure when the two animals find one another. Even though readers will know that Hedgehog hugs Tortoise, the book is worth flipping over to read it from Tortoise's point of view too. McLaughlin's text is fresh and simple, much like Dunbar's illustrations. One little element that adds to the fun is watching both Tortoise and Hedgehog get more and more grimy from the animals they meet, picking up bits of dirt and fuzz along their journeys. The hug though, the hug at the middle is pure bliss. Perfect for when you need a hug, even if you are a bit prickly or too hard." -- Waking Brain Cells
"A perfectly charming picture book... Dunbar's delicate watercolors leave plenty of clean space on the cream-colored pages to enable the well-drawn characters to shine... McLaughlin's thoughtful use of simple words and sentence structure creates a text that is accessible for young readers and the story would also be a delightful read-aloud selection." -- All About the Books with Janet Squires
"I love the story and the adorable artwork. An especially good read for anyone who has had trouble finding a friend but potentially eye-opening for those who easily reject others." -- Susan Uhlig, So Many Good Books
"The Hug is an adorable flipbook with short, easy-to-read sentences about the power of a hug... The artwork is simple and sweet, set against a plain ivory background. When the two characters hug, the joy on their faces is matched only by the swirls of color, stars, and flower petals surrounding them. It's a sweet story that is perfect for storytime, perfect for cuddletime, wonderful for any time. I read this in a recent storytime and the kids and parents alike loved the leadup to the hug and the flip from one story to the next. A sweet story that reminds readers that there's always someone out there to hug, no matter how prickly or how tough you may think you're feeling." -- Rosemary Kidlatis, Queens Public Library librarian and reviewer at MomReadIt
"The Hug is simple and sweet and deeply satisfying." -- Tanya Turkek, Books4YourKids
"Read from one side then flip it and read from the other side. You end up in the same spot and it is all adorable. You see, tortoise and hedgehog both just want a hug and are turned down by all the other animals until they find each other in the center of the book... It's a creative concept that will keep what is a short picture book in the toddler rotation much longer." -- WindyCityReader
"A beautiful quiet book, perfect bedtime, that children will want to read again and again."-- Rebecca Herzog, SlothReads