Bond, illustrator of the If You Give… series, falls short in her attempt to celebrate hugs of all kinds everywhere.
Despite an illustrative technique that resembles collage with various textured papers, the mostly bright and seemingly tactile creatures still appear flat as they lie upon stark white backgrounds. The brief text begins with the statement, “Everyone hugs all over the world.” The litany of mostly opposite pairs fails to engage young readers as the pages flip by. First comes a list of different animal hugs (cats/dogs, hamsters/hippos), followed by directional concepts (upstairs/downstairs, inside/outside, here/there) and then more opposites (winter/summer, day/night). The last two double-page spreads come full circle to reiterate the initial declaration. The final spread then shows all of the animals featured in the story, reduced in size and floating around the Earth. Though individual illustrations display Bond's customary whimsy, poor contrast in some makes the animals difficult to distinguish. She is to be applauded for expanding beyond her usual style, but this métier needs more development—or perhaps a real narrative line—to work well.Although obviously well-intentioned, there is little here to set this apart from the multitude of books on hugs and other demonstrations of affection. Pass. (Picture book. 2-4)