Book Review: Hug by Jez Alborough


Even though I usually share books for elementary age children, today I’m going to share a favorite around my house right now.  My son is 16 months old, and just adores the book Hug by Jez Alborough.  And I have to say, I adore it as well!

Photo by Amazon

The premise of this book is simple: Bobo the little monkey sees various animals hugging each other and he wants a hug, too!  The only problem is, he can’t find his Mommy to give him one.  Each beautiful illustration is captioned with his cry for a “Hug!”  You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor little monkey.  His delightfully drawn little face is just so pitiful.

In fact, after a particularly sad scene where Bobo has begun to cry, my son leaned down, putting his head on the monkey’s and said, “Awwww” while wrapping his arms around the book.  How amazingly powerful books can be for teaching our children about emotions. Many times, I still see my child as a baby, and I would have never thought he was ready for a lesson in giving comfort to someone who is sad.

Books can evoke strong emotions, even in toddlers.

The illustrations are absolutely perfect as well.  There are a multitude of animals for your little one to practice naming and mimicking. They are clean, bright and eye catching.

Photo by Amazon

Bobo is finally reunited with his Mommy and of course the book ends with an enormous group hug.

This book is available in several formats, but our local library had it as a large board book which was perfect for my little guy. The larger size made it easy for him to turn the pages for himself.

Although this book is clearly geared for our youngest readers, I love the idea of using this type of book as a writing prompt for our elementary and upper elementary students. Books with beautiful, descriptive pictures and few words are ripe ground for creating a more elaborate story.  Especially for those students who have trouble finding inspiration for their own stories.

Have the students in your life to write their own captions for each page, using descriptive words and longer sentences to tell what is happening.  Parents and teachers alike will be amazed at how different each child’s story will be, while describing the same pictures.  Encourage them to be as creative as possible.  It’s not necessary to tell the same story the original author was trying to convey.

Alborough has written many wonderful books for children.  A quick search online or at your favorite book store will yield hours of wonderful reading. He also has a few similar books that we are adding to our personal Must Check-Out List including Tall and Yes, in which the character, Bobo, appears again.

Do you have books that evoke strong emotions in your children? I’d be delighted for you to share!

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  1. canuck_grad says:

    A friend bought us Hug and our little man loves it. We got Tall from the library and he really liked that too! They are great books.

  2. My 2.5 year old son loves Hug! We keep it in regular rotation at our house. I recently picked up Yes from the library, too, and that one is also good: it’s about bedtime and bathtime for Bobo.
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Houston Fire Station #17 Rub =-.

  3. My granddaughter loves Hug and I’m so glad you choose this book to talk about. We were at the library and another child had left this particular book on a table and we just happened to pick it up and read it together. Anna loves it so much that I’ve since bought it so I can have it at the house. It’s one of our favorites!
    .-= Tina@RideOnToys´s last blog ..Toys Made In The USA – Do They Still Exist? =-.

  4. I’m definitely checking this one out. My daughter is really getting into the hugs now. My favorite part is when she goes, “Mmmmmm” while she’s hugging. I think she got that one from me.
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..A Very Wet Day in Lansing by karpov the wrecked train =-.

  5. We first picked-up this book at the library too and now have our own copy at home. For months it was one the most-requested books at story time! And I think I love it as much as my son (now 2 1/2).

    I’ve also given the board book version as a baby-shower gift numerous times and it’s always been a bit! If you do check out “Tall” and “Yes” I would love to hear about them, too!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Where to begin? =-.

  6. This sounds like something both of my girls would love – especially AJ. She is SUCH the fan of “big hugs”! Thanks for sharing, Emily! ?
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..Perspective =-.

  7. A friend was clearing out her son’s books and gave this one to us (amongst others). I love that it has minimal words – I often find that I don’t want to stray from the printed words, as if I’m obligated to read them exactly. With this book, I feel free to discuss everything in the pictures, from animal names to relationships and expressions. I know I CAN do that with traditional books, but I find that I tend not to if something is already printed on the page.
    I’ll have to look into these others as well!

    • Good point. I think it would be great for struggling readers as well. They could embellish the story as they wished without feeling like they “failed” at reading it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. We got this book when sunnyboy was 15 months and loved it. He’s 3 and a half now and it’s still a favourite. :)
    .-= sunnymama´s last blog ..Shadows =-.

  9. Thanks for the recommendation. We just read Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough, and my 3-1/2 year old loved it.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Hello? Anybody There? =-.

  10. We love this book too – it was a very frequent read for a long time when my son was like 2.5. Whenever he saw a person or animal with a sad face, he’d say “he misses his Mommy”, like Bobo. ;-)

  11. This is a great book and we too keep a copy around the house along with our favorite, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”.
    .-= Richard´s last blog ..How To Be Scene =-.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan Heid. Susan Heid said: RT @simplekids Book Review: Hug by Jez Alborough [...]

  2. [...] Hug by Jez Alborough: @peekababy says: “Hug is another great pre-reading book! Cutest ever! Three recurring words in the whole book. Fabulous! Can you tell I have a degree in Elementary Ed & literacy, lol.” [...]

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