HUG THIS BOOK
by Barney Saltzberg, illustrated by Fred Benaglia – Phaidon, 2016
ages 2 to 8 years / imagination, language
For all of us with a bulging bookshelf and stacks of books near bed and bathtub, Hug This Book is like reading an affirmation of our good taste and good sense! There’s just so much to do with a book—and so many places to read it.
This is a charming poem book with vibrant illustrations. It’s easy to read aloud and leaves plenty of room for imagination.
Hug This Book follows a disarming collection of children as they try out different ways to enjoy this book.
They read it to a hippo, make up a story to tell to the book, take it to lunch, read it with a friend and more.
The pictures, as you can see, have a joyful and retro feel to them – the kids in are happy and engaged. The book is beautifully designed too—the typeface keeps the retro feel going and is easy to follow. (That’s a big deal when it comes to reading aloud a book that doesn’t have a story trajectory.)
The inner librarian in all of us will adore this ode to reading books. And for those of us who are carnal lovers of books, well, it will feel like vindication.
The power pack in Hug This Book:
Reading a book about books to a child is great for sharing a passion—there’s an underlying confirmation that: we’re the sort of people who love books, and that’s great.
It’s great for reading after a child has illicitly drawn on or torn a book—as a way of saying it’s ok, books are meant to be used, just not that exact way.
It leads to coming up with other ways to show a bit of book love—after all if a book can be read in a hot air balloon, there’s really nowhere it can’t be read.
A small reading hint:
If you’re an animated reader you’ll love this book, there are so many chances to play along. Tickle, kiss, hug, smell, sing—it’s a book that can be hammed up and played with. If you’re more subdued and find it tricky to goof around while reading, Hug This Book is just as effective read in a conspiratorial tone—a tone that says: ‘it’s funny to hug a book or read it upside down, and a little bit tempting to try’. Either way, it’s a great bedtime book.