Hug This Book!

Hug This Book! illus. by Fred Benaglia. 32p. Phaidon. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780714872841. POP
K-Gr 2—Saltzberg's tribute to the lovability of a favorite book bounces in perfect rhythm. Benaglia's pen on paper, digitally colored illustrations tell their own whimsical story in delightful and unpredictable ways. The poem begins, "You can read this book to a hippo," and brightly colored children (red, blue, chartreuse) do just that. On the next page, they step off the hippo (with her impossibly small feet) into a floating bathtub just in time for the line, "You can read this book in the bath." As the right-facing page shows an island ahead ("If you read this book being tickled, I dare you not to laugh!"), we know that it will be the setting for the next set of lines. A little girl peeking around a tree in a corner shows up as the main character on the next page. The book they are reading, white with a red heart, is passed from page to page and enjoyed in many different ways.
VERDICT Young children will memorize and recite the text; older children can extend its message by adding lines of their own. Teachers can introduce units on poetry or graphic design. Circulation guaranteed.

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