The Hug

David Gross­man; Michal Rovn­er, illus.

  • Review
By – February 13, 2014

Not­ed Israeli author David Gross­man has tak­en his extra­or­di­nary tal­ent for sen­si­tive­ly reach­ing deep into hearts and souls, demon­strat­ed for many years through his adult fic­tion, and has now shown that he can reach into a child’s heart, as well. Poet­i­cal­ly trans­lat­ed from the orig­i­nal Hebrew, we fol­low young Ben and his moth­er as they walk through a field one after­noon talk­ing about what makes Ben so very spe­cial. If you are unique and spe­cial, are you all alone in the world, asks Ben, with a qui­et but deep con- cern. But his moth­er knows, as moth­ers often do, how to reas­sure her child that being one of a kind need nev­er mean being all on your own. The lan­guage is lyri­cal and spare but filled with uni­ver­sal truth; the art, also spare, just grays with a hint of col­or, is per­fect for enhanc­ing sto­ry and mood. Though the pub­lish­er’s sug­gest­ed age range is 3 and up, the lan­guage and draw­ings com­bine into a work of art that pro­vokes thought and dis­cus­sion for any age and any stage.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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