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Hug Machine | June 4, 2014

by Scott Campbell (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster, August 2014)

Not one to balk at the idea of waiting in line to meet an author or illustrator, I was lucky enough to pick up an early copy of Hug Machine at last week’s Book Expo America. (Just look at that cover! It gives me all kinds of feels.) Scott Campbell—creator of The Great Showdowns series and illustrator of Zombie in Love and If Dogs Run Free—makes his first solo foray into picture books with this quirky, adorable gem.

It’s true what they say: sometimes you just need a hug. These are words the Hug Machine, a cute, spiky-haired little boy with a candy-cane-striped shirt (and suspenders!), lives by. He knows his hugs are the best, and he will hug anyone and anything to prove it—literally. (He hugs everything from a balloon to an ice-cream truck.) Even though he inevitably meets characters in need of some affection who make hugging more challenging than usual, the Hug Machine always finds a way. And at the end of the day, he is rewarded with a hug from the one person whose embrace matters most.

I can’t get enough of Scott Campbell’s watercolor illustrations, which perfectly capture the equal parts of charm and humor that emanate from this book. Its short length and punchy text make it a great pick for reading aloud to little ones one who fancy themselves Hug Machines in their own right.


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