A boisterous kitty playfully debates the merits of hugging various critters before deciding hugging baby brother is the best cuddle of all.
Exuberantly rendered in Cabrera’s signature bold, painterly style, the vibrantly colored full-bleed animals look almost touchable while bright, patterned backgrounds saturated with color make the hugging duos pop off the page. As the big-eyed tan-and-white kitten tries to determine a “favorite friend to cuddle,” the fuzzy tot meets and is enveloped by animals as varied as a luxuriously patterned peacock, an oversized teddy bear, and even a coral-colored octopus with safely rounded, drifting tentacles. Using lighthearted language sure to appeal to little ones, the kitten reflects on what makes each hug special: A small mouse has a “teeny-weeny cuddle” and an elephant, “a big strong” one while even potentially off-putting creatures like a “spiky” porcupine or “scaly” armadillo have reassuring (if leprous, for the latter) cuddles. It’s gratifying to see the little kitty’s progress from seeking cuddles to being large and in charge when readers meet the new baby brother on the last page. Resized from Cabrera’s 2007 picture book of the same name, this is one of those rare board-book adaptations that works well thanks to her brief, toddler-friendly text and emphatic illustration style.
Lap-sit readers will eagerly snuggle up for their own cuddles.(Board book. 6 mos.-3)