The Bookworm family is a very affectionate family. And I grew up in a very affectionate family too. I remember giving my Dad what we called 'backwards' hugs, meaning that I hugged him from behind. We even have a family picture with us all hugging in a row like a train. And it's taken when my sisters and I were teenagers!
As I've said before with picture books, it's hard to capture the winning combination of good story with good illustration. And Hug Machine delivers on both fronts and then some. The premise is that the 'Hug Machine' is a little boy who hugs everyone and everything he sees. No exceptions. No biases. The underlying subtext is one of unconditional acceptance.
The illustrations are done in watercolor with a lot of detail. My favorite page is when the little boy figures out a solution to hugging a porcupine. Because even our spiky friends may need hugs! An added bonus: the end pages feature an adorable before-and-after "Hug Checklist".
When I was younger, I used to bug my mom for hugs. I was never lacking, but I always wanted one, so much so that she bought me a poster that had a poem all about hugs. I wish I knew where that poster went! So, why does it not surprise me that my Little Lion is always in need of hugs?
Rating: This book reminds me of my dad, a wonderful and loving father. And it reminds me of my husband, also a loving and wonderful father. So I would recommend that if you're an affectionate family or if you have a particularly affectionate little one, you definitely have to buy this book.
Ages: Walking, roaming, hugging toddlers on up.