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HUGLESS DOUGLAS by David Melling


by David Melling & illustrated by David Melling & developed by Hachette UK

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 2011
Publisher: Hachette UK

A cub searches for a much-needed bear hug.

Adapted from Melling’s 2010 book of the same name, this story is about a young brown bear who wakes up in need of some affection. Douglas wraps his arms around a boulder and tries to cuddle with a tree, but neither delivers what he’s looking for. After disturbing a herd of sheep and a cranky owl (all of whom refuse to reciprocate his hugs), he finds a rabbit that eventually leads him to the warm embrace he craves. Illustrations are taken directly from the book, with certain details given limited, superficial movement. The read-to-me version is played like a video, which—aside from being able to pause and play—leaves it completely sans interactive elements. Alan Davies’ narration is delightfully lively and is read at a reasonable pace as each word is highlighted. The read-it-myself option allows for self-paced page advancement as well as limited interaction; tapping items yields audio and visual one-word descriptions, though some diction and spellings are decidedly British. In addition to the story, there are two extras: a “hug gallery,” in which various images can be e-mailed, and a game of “Noughts and Crosses” (more frequently known in America as Tic-Tac-Toe).

This app won’t win any awards for technological innovation, but it offers enough warmth and educational value to justify the price. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)