An ode to various kinds of hugs as enacted by various animals.
The uncredited, rhymed text is mostly fluid, but the typeface changes radically from page to page and even word to word, making it difficult to scan. Each double- or single-page spread depicts a pair or group of animals engaged in a hug, some of which are more successful than others. While the mouse pair looks to be cozily hugging in Mantle’s cheerful, brightly colored cartoons, the group of birds on a wire don’t appear to be at all, and one member of the frog duo is attempting to escape the embrace of the other. Attached to the back cover are two arm-shaped flaps that flip around the entire book to illustrate a bear embracing its cub and simultaneously fasten the book with magnetic closures. While a pleasing gimmick, young browsers may be disappointed that it does not continue on the interior pages. Peek-a-boo!, the companion book, uses the same type of flaps on the cover to hide a bunny’s eyes. Inside, children are invited to play the titular game as a bear, a cat and a gorilla, among others, hide behind some object in their habitat and reveal themselves on the verso. While the text is playful, the typeface is, again, all over the place, and the turn-the-page peekaboo format is less successful than the lift-the-flap variety.
While the covers of both titles suggest lots of interaction, the pages within fail to deliver the goods. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)