{book} hugs and kisses


DAY 11

Hugs and Kisses (Mama, ich hab dich lieb)

by Christophe Loupy & Eve Tharlet translated by J. Alison James

A Michael Neugebauer Book (Switzerland)/North-South Books (NY/London), 2001.

“Hugs the puppy sets out to collect lots of wonderful kisses from his animal friends, but in the end he discovers that the best kiss of all is the one he gets from his loving mother.” –publisher

This was one we kept on Natalya’s book shelf through her childhood. It just a sweet sweet story partnered with glowing illustrations. Stories of hugs and kisses tend to retire with board books, and those like Hugs and Kisses and Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand fill an important niche.

The images are adorable and the kisses can seem kind of silly in a fun way, so an early, early reader or non- can enjoy Hugs and Kisses but this book is best experienced snuggled into it. It has tendencies towards mom-time, but I’d hardly let that get in the way. Maybe it could spur an interaction about how being with dad makes Hugs feel, or even his siblings. And Hugs does learn that Mom isn’t the only source of positive affectionate interaction.

“A kiss from a duck is refreshing, A kiss from a horse is warm, A kiss from a pig is tender, …”

For the tactile and sensitive individual who is still exploring the world and their relationships with it, it is a good feelings book not only emotionally but in thinking about the different textures of the natural world, too. The narrative welcomes the reader/listener to imagine what those kisses feel like. Hugs expresses a kind of wonder and anticipation in the illustrations and text. He’s delightful.*

So, admittedly, I attach some sentimentality to this particular picture book. But it is precious. It shares the reader/listener’s childhood with them. It isn’t instructing them or the parent. It isn’t commiserating on a particularly sensitive subject that we might have to laugh about before we can talk about it. It is very simply Hugs and Kisses.

*of note: you may not want to read this with a child who desperately wants a pet.

{images belong to Loupy/Tharlet}

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