• Posted on February 11, 2012

A Day in February

With Valentine’s Day (or Tuesday, as I like to call it) just around the corner, and in the absence of any new mushy picture books for the occasion (other than the usual dreary selection of pink and/or heart-shaped books permeating the children’s section), I am revisiting my post from last year, with one addition. It’s not new, just a new format: Patrick McDonnell’s sweetly unconventional Hug Time, issued this February as a board book. As the title implies, Hug Time is about hugs, and the procuring thereof, but among the beautiful illustrations and feather-light storytelling is a subtle environmental message. Nothing heavy-handed, just McDonnell’s characteristic gentleness and wit, now in a more chewable format.

For a full review of Hug Time, and other unconventional Valentine’s reads, please check out my post from February 2011.

Happy Blue Muffin Day!

Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell published by Little, Brown 2012

Listen to Patrick reading Hug Time.


  • Posted on February 12, 2011

Hug it Out, Earth

In spite of the title and the giant heart on the cover, Hug Time is not a conventional Valentine’s Day book, unless your object of affection is a blue whale, or a baobab tree. However, considering my other VD recommendations (at the end of this post) involve fruit and frogs, Hug Time is entirely within the scope of the 32 Pages Valentine’s oeuvre.

Hug Time is actually an environmental book, starring Patrick McDonnell’s favourite little environmentalist, animal advocate, and resident tiger lover, Jules, also known as Shtinky Puddin’ in the comic strip Mutts, from which this character originates. Jules decides that our ailing world is in need of hug, and sets out to remedy the situation. I can think of a few more things the world needs (more cowbell, for instance), but a hug is always a good place to start. Ever resourceful, Jules packs only what is necessary for such a journey, his favourite green sweater and a hug to-do list. If only my cat traveled so lightly.

Read More