To weave a story together that is beautifully simple, and made all the more powerful because of it, is not an easy task. To write a book that, by the end, makes the reader want to hold onto tightly because it is so precious, is not a common feat. In his book “Hug Time” author Patrick McDonnell executes both of these things flawlessly. Unique, captivating illustrations and simple rhymed sentences spread the strong message to adults and children alike of how important it is to care for and love simply the fragile world we live in.
The General Plotline
A kitten named Jules with a heart as big as the world he loves heads off on a journey around the globe to hug everyone and everything imaginable. With his hug “to do” list in paw he travels over oceans, through Africa, Jungles, and even Australia. From whales to elephants to flowers, Jules spreads his kindness and love to everyone he possibly can and making the world a better place just by hugging.
Who’s In Hug Time?
There is only one main character in the story, Jules, but that is just what is needed to demonstrate the power of one, how a single being can affect many many more. The other characters we meet briefly include his closest friends Mooch, Noodles, and Earl, and then a whole cast of animals on his hug “to do” list. Chimpanzees and giraffes, birds and little grey squirrels, even a brand new species. The list goes on, surprising and delighting us with each new critter Jules meets.
What Are The Illustrations Like?
They are truly great. They balance the simplicity of the words with a beautiful simplicity of their own, creating the perfect combination for a wonderful children’s book. Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the comic strip “Mutts”, so it is in this style that the illustrations are drawn. Simple, but with plenty of color and shading, they are original and express and enhance the story exactly as it should be.
Who Should Read It?
This book is best suited for children ages six and up to grasp the true meaning of the story, but would work for any age if not for anything else but the great drawings.
Our Final Review of “Hug Time”
Hug Time is the kind of story that I want to share with everybody, especially children. It opens a path for them to follow that they may not have seen before, one that leads them step by step to a better world, all through simple acts of kindness that they are more than capable of. When you’re little, it’s especially easy to believe that you are powerless, even as adults it is easy to feel that way as well, but Hug Time teaches the power that one person has, and the huge impact they make on the world.
There comes a moment in the endings of really great books that is difficult to describe. It is that moment when a story that was already really good all comes together in its final moments and you understand the true meaning of it, a powerful meaning that moves you deeply and leaves a mark on you that you will not easily forget. You may not be expecting it, but “Hug Time” is exactly one of those stories.