The Very Best Hug

Bloomsbury. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547612369.
PreS-K–Spoiler alert: the very best hug is going to come from Mom, of course, but before that moment, the tan-skinned girl with a head full of black curls who stars in this story will go through a monkey mash, meerkat mosh, lion squish, leopard squash, hedgehog huggle, cobra clinch, and probably dozens of other animal grabs that are not only shown in gleeful illustrations but are nicely named in rhyming couplets that flow off the tongue for story hour fun. This is a hoot for sharing with preschool and toddler aged children, who will groan with impatience to get to that parental hug at the end but will also love waiting for their favorite animals: the raccoons that wriggle, the rhinos that like to wrestle, and all the rest. It’s inventive fun that educators won’t tire of either, no matter how many times it’s all repeated.
VERDICT With nearly endless variations, Prasadam-Halls has made hugging into a zoo of opportunity for passing the love around.

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