Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HUG TIME by Patrick McDonnell

McDonnell, Patrick. Hug Time. Illus. Patrick McDonnell. NY: Little, Brown & Co., 2012. ISBN: 978-0-31618-295-9. $6.99. Board Book. Ages 0-2.

Patrick McDonnell’s Hug Time is now available as a board book. This oh-so-delightful rhyming picture book follows a little kitten named Jules (as seen in McDonnell’s MUTTS comic strip) on a trek around the globe. What is driving this furry feline’s adventure? Why, only his desire to give the whole world a hug, of course!

McDonnell’s writing is simple and sweet. His soft rhymes have a natural flow to them, which make the book perfect for reading out loud. And the story’s soothing message of peace and love is ideal for a cozy bedtime setting. McDonnell introduces his readers to the most endearing and empathetic little kitten. And Jules’ genuine care for this world is almost as inspiring as it is heartwarming.

Of course, McDonnell’s illustrations are what really make this story a smash. With so few words, each page of colorful drawings carries the reader along Jules’ journey. McDonnell’s strokes may seem simple, but they create an abundance of life and personality. Every animal that Jules encounters seems to be more animated than the last, due to their detailed and differing facial expressions. The animals have very distinctive demeanors, and yet they are all adorable. With just a few lines, McDonnell can create an exceedingly life-like expression of calm, delight, surprise, or indifference (as with the giraffe, who seems entirely unfazed by the little kitten clutching his nose in a hug). Each animal is beautifully depicted, and each page presents something lovely for young eyes to devour.

While Hug Time is still available in hardcover, this new sturdy board book format makes it the perfect gift to give to any newborn you may know.

Caitlin Kennedy

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