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THE HUG by David Grossman


by David Grossman ; illustrated by Michal Rovner

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4683-0273-8
Publisher: Overlook

In this gentle Israeli import, a little boy worries that because there is no one else exactly like him, he will be lonely.

A mother tenderly tells her child: “You are so sweet, there’s nobody else like you in the whole wide world!” But these loving words are not as reassuring as she intends. In fact, they are worrisome to tiny Ben. “But then I’m all alone!” he exclaims. With quintessential child logic, Ben believes if he is unique and there is no one else who matches him, then he will be lonely, even with his mother right by his side. “Everyone is a little alone, but also together,” she explains. That doesn’t help to clarify anything to Ben. Luckily, the power of a hug is all he needs to know. Vast white space surrounds Rovner’s fuzzy, pencil drawings. Mother and child are often at the center, with few details around them. The contemplative and repetitive nature of Ben’s questioning echoes in the simple lines. Small hints of color suggest sprouts of understanding.

A valuable reminder that individuality, while often celebrated, can be confusing to comprehend and even scarier to preserve—for all ages.

(Picture book. 4-8)