#365PictureBooks Day 11 – The hug machine

Watch out world, here he comes! The Hug Machine!

Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!

This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug—and this book! Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Image source : Publisher website

I borrowed this book from the Public Library because it featured on quite a few best of 2014 lists. It isn’t the sort of thing I would normally buy, not because it isn’t any good, but because my preference is for things that aren’t saccharine sweet (preferring my picture books slightly quirky, sassy and smart – if they are cute then they have to have some other element to wow me….)

There is something really lovely about this kid (aka the Hug Machine) who loves to hug everything and everyone, animal, vegetable or mineral. He ends up so exhausted from giving hugs all day that the only thing that will recharge him for another day of hugs tomorrow, is a hug from his own special ‘hug machine’.

It would make a really sweet read aloud, perhaps more so between a parent or caregiver and their child so that they can have a conversation about the appropriateness of hugging complete strangers. Even so, I would love to read it with my kindergartners, so it may very well end up on my to buy list. The message that everyone needs hugs regardless of size, shape and appearance etc one that suggests everyone deserves love and so, so lovely.

My favourite pages are where the Hug Machine chances upon a spiky porcupine:

“What about me? I am so spiky. No one ever hugs me.”

and when you turn the page to a double page spread the Hug Machine is armoured up with oven mitts, apron and helmet and is hugging the porcupine.

“They are missing out!”

Bibliographic details:

The Hug machine by Scott Campbell

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers(an imprint of Simon & Schuster), 2014.

40 pages


NZ RRP $21.99

Available from good bookshops and library suppliers, or borrow from Auckland Libraries


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