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DON'T HUG DOUG by Carrie Finison Kirkus Star


(He Doesn't Like It)

by Carrie Finison ; illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-984813-02-2
Publisher: Putnam

A cheerful approach to basic consent.

In rollicking text readers learn that Doug, a brown-skinned child with red glasses, “likes to sort his rock collection, and try on his sock collection, and draw with his chalk collection.” He often has a smile on his face and “just doesn’t like hugs.” “Doug likes YOU,” the book assures readers, explaining that Doug only likes good-night hugs, from his mom. The next page points to people of various ages and racial presentations and poses a question: “Can you hug these people? There’s only one way to find out.” “ASK!” Doug rejoins. Readers learn that “Some people love hugs. Lots of people don’t. And lots of people are somewhere in the middle.” A collage of purple, green, and blue people (and one porcupine), one in hijab and the others with racially differentiated hair, share their preferences around physical affection. The story ends with Doug racing around high-fiving a diverse group of humans and nonhumans. Especially important is that Doug never gives a reason why he doesn’t like hugs—he just doesn’t, and the reason why doesn’t matter, because he gets to make that decision for himself. Even though it doesn’t have—or really need—a plot, this book will still be fun to read aloud or explore independently. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 8.3% of actual size.)

An excellent update on the golden rule: treat people how they want to be treated.

(Picture book. 4-7)