In 2020 While We Can’t Hug by this picture book duo captured the feelings of many and was a source of comfort as families were separated and we tried to adapt to our changed circumstances. One year on and Hedgehog and Tortoise are back and now reunited and discover that it was worth the wait.
This gentle, hopeful book is sure to put smiles on faces with its humour and kindness. After a long hibernation Hedgehog wakes up and eagerly starts searching for his dear friend, Tortoise. But, where can Tortoise be? Lots of other friends come to say hello and play with Hedgehog but although Hedgehog tries to make the best of things, Squirrel, Badger and the others are just not the same. Hedgehog needs Tortoise. Polly Dunbar’s subtle water colour illustrations perfectly complement Eoin McLaughlin’s text depicting all the animals’ antics with a humorous touch. Observant children may even spot Tortoise before Hedgehog does.
A lovely picture book for young children and a good way of starting conversations about friendship, patience and separation from close chums and those we love most. The Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug was published by Faber Books in paperback in June and hardback this month.
This rhyming story is full of experiences of different types, funny, exciting, and mundane but all of them are ones we have missed since the start of the pandemic. There are picnics in the park, swimming lessons, a trip to the zoo and a visit to a coffee shop all depicted in the joyful illustrations. All of these are described as events that the young readers have to look forward to and may now be enjoying as the world ventures out again. For adults this is both a sobering reminder of the things that children may not have experienced over the last year or so and a joyful celebration of the things that matter most to us.
There is a warmth and hopefulness to the text and it captures well the importance of the everyday, the things we may have previously taken for granted, and how we will now treat these with a new sense of appreciation and joy. The book is dedicated to ‘the brave who had no choice but to work; for the courageous who had no choice but to stop…’ This will, I think resonate with many adults sharing the book for whom there will be an added poignancy. However for young children this will be an entertaining and joyful book to share. They will enjoy spotting familiar items and places in the illustrations and this rhyming text makes this lovely to listen to at bedtime or storytime.
The Wonderful World was Waiting was published in June by Owlet Press.
Inspired by the rainbows seen so frequently in windows throughout the COVID19 pandemic Theresa Trinder has created a reassuring and positive picture book full of hope. The lyrical text acknowledges the difficult moments of separation from friends and loved ones, the adjustment to online schooling and the constraints placed upon us but at the same time highlights the connections still possible despite the situation. There is a kind uplifting tone to the message and the spare text, almost a poem, encourages the reader to linger over the illustrations and read more slowly.
Grant Snider’s crayon illustrations have a smudged, childlike quality and depict scenes children will recognise from the last eighteen months; the ever present rainbows, the Zoom boxes on the computer screen which are now so familiar. However this could equally apply to any situation when we feel distanced from others or have suffered loss. Sometimes it is not only circumstances that cause children to feel separate from others, it may be emotions that overwhelm them. This gentle book encourages children to look ahead to the future with optimism as it stresses the support and connections available around us. An uplifting message of community and resilience.
There is a Rainbow was published by Chronicle Books in April.
All three books can be purchased online by clicking on the titles.