Daddy Bear and his son spend the day seeking out and hugging forest denizens.
Their breakfast of honey having given them a “warm, sweet feeling inside,” the two set off to find Mr. Beaver to give him a squeeze. Though the recipient is at first frightened, he acquiesces to a hug and is pleased to find that “it felt strange but nice.” Litte Bear wants to give out more hugs (troublingly, Daddy Bear states that “Hugging always makes you feel good”), so the two spend the rest of their day passing out hugs to at-first-reluctant forest animals (Dziubak’s bears show no teeth, but they are big and do have fearsome claws). And at the end of the day, Little Bear points out what observant readers will have seen all along: they’ve forgotten someone very important. Readers used to such fare as Who Invited You, by Candace Fleming and illustrated by George Booth (2001), and Oliver and His Alligator, by Paul Schmid (2013), will be waiting for the other shoe to drop, especially when Ms. Anaconda says it would be her pleasure to get a hug from the bears. But it never comes—this is simply a sweet tale about making others feel good by giving them hugs. The seemingly digital illustrations raise and lower tension with each page turn; though the animals’ faces are not consistently expressive, Dziubak packs plenty of humor in by playing with composition and relative size.
For kids who love hugs and aren’t afraid to share them. (Picture book. 3-6)