Hugging our loved ones was second nature before the pandemic. A hug is a wonderful and powerful thing. A hug can lift you when you’re down, show someone how much you care about them; a hug can be shared in a moment of joy, fear, love, sadness. In 2020 a “virtual hug” became the only connection many of us could have. But the question remains, what can we do while we can’t hug?
This post is even more timely than I had first anticipated, when I scheduled it back before Christmas. As the UK finds itself going into another lockdown, I think we are all in need of a big virtual HUG and these two books do just that. The Hug and While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar are must have books.
The Hug can be read from front-to-back (from Hedgehog’s point of view) or back-to-front (from Tortoise’s point of view).
Hedgehog is feeling so sad only one thing can help… A hug!
Tortoise is feeling so sad only one thing can help… A (you guessed it) hug!
In each version of the story, we follow Hedgehog’s or Tortoise’s search for a hug. They ask all the other animals but no one will hug them, making up daft reasons!
No one will give Tortoise or Hedgehog a hug until… they find each other! Both stories meet in the middle with this wonderful vertical spread of the HUG!
Reading this book with my girls is joyful. My three-year-old loves the middle and wants to read it one way and then the other, and then again, and again. She thinks the other animals are a bit mean, but she loves THE HUG!
Reading this book is also bitter sweet, in January 2021, as the UK faces lockdown 3. But that’s where the absolutely incredible sequel knocks it out of the park!
While We Can’t Hug is the next chapter of Hedgehog and Tortoise’s tale. They are now the best of friends and desperate to give each other another great, big HUG! But now they aren’t allowed to touch. In this poignant and gorgeous book aimed at life during the pandemic, wise Owl has some wise words for us all.
My daughter completely related to all the different ways Hedgehog and Tortoise show they care about each other. We see them wave, blow kisses, sing songs, dance around and write letters and of course, the symbol that has come to mean so much to so many of us during this difficult time… paint rainbows.
The message is simple, loud and clear: even though they can’t hug and they can’t touch, they both know that they are loved. If you are looking for a beautiful, uplifting and heart-felt picture book about surviving social distancing, this is it.
Even better, the e-book version is currently only 82p –Buy here!
While we Can’t Hug was published by Faber & Faber, 25 June 2020
The Hug was published by Faber & Faber in 2019
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copies of these books. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.