The Runaway Hug
Scholastic Press, 2012
pbk., RRP $A14.99
As Lucy get ready for bed.going to the toilet, washing her hands, brushing her teeth and struggling into her onsie – all charmingly depicted in the title pages – she asks her mother for one of the essentials things before going to bed. – a hug. Her mother is more than willing to share but warns Lucy that it is the very last hug that she has left and she will need it back.
It is a long and soft hug, and Lucy promises to bring it back as soon as she finishes with it. And off she runs to share it with Daddy who makes it strong and as tight as a knot; then her twin brothers who make it big; then her baby sister Lily who made it peanut-buttery – each one different but just as nice as the one before. But when she hugs Annie her lovable spaniel, something terrible happens. Before Lucy can ask for it back, Annie races off taking Mummy’s very last hug with her… How will Lucy give her hug back to Mummy now?
The Runaway Hug won the Children’s Book Council of Australia’a Early Chilhood Book of the Year in 2012, and it’s easy to see why such a delightful story would take that honour. It is utterly engaging, focusing on such an everyday happening that every child can relate to. Freya Blackwood’s fantastic illustrations add to that everydayness with scenes of mum rummaging through the laundry, dad watching TV, the house in disarray all depicting a strong loving family with fours kids and a dog. The final image is one of comfort and love, perfectly complementing the storyline.
Nick Bland has rapidly become a favourite author of the early childhood brigade and rightly so. One of the talents behind We Are Wheelbarrow which make apps to support his growing portfolio of titles, he really has his finger on what it is that this age group love to hear and share – and read for themselves.
Because of being shortlisted, there is a host of teaching ideas available online for The Runaway Hug,as well as this Pinterest board and this one to help make Nick’s work the focus of an author study.