One family’s reunion is celebrated through many types of hugs.
As with many books on the topic, this one surveys the many types of hugs in the world: “Some hugs nuzzle nose to nose. / Some hugs lick and tickle toes.” But in contrast, Moore and Woolf offer readers something more. As the pages turn, the Asian nuclear family of a mom, dad, and two children anticipates and prepares for what is clearly a long-awaited reunion with family that has flown in: a grandmother and another couple with their own three children. “Some hugs wait for years and years. // Some hugs cradle falling tears.” The excitement is catching, and readers would need hearts of stone not to be moved by the family togetherness on display. They have a picnic feast (both typical American picnic food such as hot dogs and hamburgers and Asian dishes like dumplings and noodles) and spend the evening catching fireflies, which then—troublingly—provide a night light for the five children cozied up in a backyard tent. (The top is not visible, so readers will go on wondering about air holes.) The loosely cartoony illustrations are filled with charming details that give clues as to what is happening, and by the end, readers will be searching out hugs of their own.
The book amply demonstrates that “hugging makes us family.” (Picture book. 2-5)