Bear Hugs! from Brown Bear and Friends (World of Eric Carle) Oversize Edition

Odd Dot. Nov. 2023. 28p. Board $14.99. ISBN 9781250892782.
PreS-K–Children and their loved ones will embrace the vibrancy of this board book filled with original artwork in the “World of Eric Carle” series. Even for those who are not familiar with Carle’s books, the bright, bold colors are irresistible and the great variety of animal pairings a pleasure to view. From pandas to lions to elephants to penguins, different baby animals and their loving guardian star on each spread, complementing the meaning of each simple, bold phrase about when a hug from a loved one is most needed. Collectively, the book’s phrases form a gently rhythmic rhyme scheme that concludes with “I love you,” naming different emotions and weather to show just how hugs with loved ones are always needed and precious. Young listeners will grab onto and anticipate the repeated sentence starters, which invite them to learn the rhymes with guidance. True to Carle’s iconic illustrative style, with white backgrounds, collagelike forms, painterly textures, careful angles, and purposeful hints of natural elements, every page and every element will delight readers, especially the familiar animals who appear nearly touchable in the foreground.
VERDICT This board book expresses the warmth of a much-needed hug with iconic animals from Carle’s well-known books.

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