Sturdy flaps shaped like baby animals simulate hugs or cuddles when opened.
Pages are double thick to accommodate the nested die-cut flaps, which are the thickness of an ordinary board-book page. On the first three double-page spreads, a grown-up animal is on the verso, and when the flap on the recto is swung to the left, the baby critter closes in for a nuzzle. Little Bear “runs” for a kiss, Little Elephant goes “trunk-to-trunk” with their parent, and Little Bunny leaps over for a “special” public display of affection. The final two dyads break this pattern and show Little Owl in a nest as an adult owl swings their wing across the gutter for a snuggle, and Little Bear, appearing for second time, gets a full embrace as arms fold in for a hug. The text mostly consists of gently rhyming quatrains, the final line appearing only after the flap is opened. The direct address of adult to child allows for universality, as the larger animals could be stand-ins for parents of any gender, other relatives, and a variety of caregivers. Barker uses a muted palette, flat swaths of color without outline, and delicately patterned backgrounds to illustrate the sweet scenes.
A sentimental lap-read and a durable lift-the-flap novelty book all in one. (Novelty/board book. 6 mos.-3)