A big brown bear is generous with his hugs, and all the forest creatures appear to enjoy his embraces—except a grumpy, scheming skunk.
Mack is back with a tale reminiscent of classic Looney Tunes but with a warm if odiferous ending. Readers learn early on that even though Bear offers his hugs to everyone, Skunk isn’t having it. Bear enthuses, “[Hugs] make you feel great!” Skunk responds with the grumpy if accurate assertion that “nobody hugs a skunk!” Undeterred, Bear replies, “I’ll save you one for later.” Soon Skunk has a briefcase of “Super Stinky Tricks” with which to fend Bear off. First he tries to clobber Bear with a stinky fish, but when Bear bends down to hug a worm, the fish misses Bear and bounces back to smack Skunk. The second try is no better, and neither is the third—Skunk ends up smelling worse than usual. Adding insult to odor, with each mishap, the sympathetic Bear offers a hug. Finally Skunk relents and accepts a hug. In an instant, each animal is wowed by the experience. Skunk discovers he loves hugs…and Bear realizes he cannot stand the smell of Skunk. The digital illustrations have a cartoon comic feel that ably matches Skunk’s laugh-out-loud attempts to get back at Bear for just being nice.
Share widely. Few will be able to resist chuckling at this humorous yet heartwarming tale. (Picture book. 4-8)