Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It Only Takes . . .

It only takes one.  One shy glance, one delectable taste, one resonating note, one gentle touch or one sweet smell to effect a change.  We never know how a simple act, freely given, can alter someone's life.

In those sensory moments, short or long, small or large, we are joined with another being.  It is a force for good.  One Hug (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, December 10, 2019) written by Katrina Moore with illustrations by Julia Woolf explores a memorable day in the life of a family.  All kinds of hugs convey a range of emotions centered in love.

One hug.

A boy's day begins with a hug from his mother as they watch a plane pass by his bedroom window.  The hugging continues with an embrace from his father.  The boy hugs his sister right out of her bed.  Special hugs are given to the boy from his canine companion.

Each member of the family is busy, moving items from their home to their back yard.  Is it a picnic?  Is it a sleepover?  The letters on a banner spell WELCOME.  Soon shouts of happiness announce a long-awaited arrival.

A grandmother hugs her daughter.  An uncle hugs and whirls his nephew around as three cousins laugh and jump for joy.  The boy's sister, hesitant, joins the hugging jamboree when given some extra tender care.

A shared meal, catching-up conversations and the gentle capture of fireflies spread warmth inside the family members' hearts and a gentle glow outside as dusk descends.  Pajama-clad children build blanket beds inside a tent.  A grandmother's song envelops the nestled gals and guys as they end their day looking at a star-studded sky.

In her debut picture book, author Katrina Moore meticulously builds a narrative featuring enthusiastic embraces within a family.  Her selection of words creates a symphony of rhyming sounds; read aloud it sounds like a song.  Repetition of a refrain is a connecting chorus.  Here are two sentences.

Chasing, racing, to and fro,
sometimes hugs are on the go!

Open arms that swoop around,
some hugs whoosh you off the ground.

When you look at the open dust jacket (I'm working with an F & G. My hard copy is arriving soon.), one word comes to mind, bliss.  It is a bliss born of the embrace between a grandmother and her grandson reunited at last.  It is a bliss born of running at night among fireflies.  Notice the use of circles and loops in the design.  That's what hugs do.  By placing the grandmother and her grandson on the "o" it's as if they are seated on a crescent moon.  It makes a reference to the expression "over the moon."  All the elements on the blue are varnished.

To the left, on the back, the boy and his sister are standing together.  The boy holds his dog in his arms.  His sister is reaching out to hug the dog.  On the title page an interior image of the boy and his sister laughing and hugging is enlarged and placed between the text.

Rendered using

ArtPrint printers ink by Seawhite of Brighton and Photoshop

these digital illustrations by Julia Woolf depict all the delight found in a family whose affection for each other is expressed by hugging.  The close-up portraits of the family's faces when they are hugging supply readers with the sure knowledge of the shared contentment.  Careful readers will also find humor shown on some of those same faces.

Full color pictures are layered with the people and specific elements slightly darker than the background.  Details in the visuals show the blend of two cultures.  Julia Woolf shifts the sizes of the illustrations from full-page pictures, double-page pictures and several grouped together on a single page to heighten the cadence created by the narrative.

One of my many favorite illustrations is on a single page.  It's nighttime.  From the left a trunk of a tree forms a triangle in the upper corner.  A full moon shimmers as fireflies flutter on either side of the open-door tent.  The five children, now wearing pajamas, are getting ready to sleep in the tent.  The two boys are playing with their pillows and laughing.  A girl is laughing and dancing on the grass.  Another girl is hanging a lantern inside the tent.  The littlest girl, the boy's sister, is seated and yawning.  This is a picture you'll want to hug.

You can't read One Hug written by Katrina Moore with illustrations by Julia Woolf without smiling.  The charm of the combination of rhythmic words and images full of merriment surrounds you from beginning to end and long after the story is finished.  For a story time full of mirth pair this with The Runaway Hug, Hug Machine or Hug It Out!  I can't imagine a professional or personal collection without a copy of this book.

To learn more about Katrina Moore and Julia Woolf and their other work, please follow the link attached to their names to access their websites.  Katrina Moore has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  Julia Woolf has accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  At Harper Stacks Katrina Moore writes about one of her students and the beginning of this book.  Katrina Moore is featured at 12 x 12 Twelve Picture Books Twelve Months and KidLit411The cover reveal is hosted by teacher librarian Matthew C. Winner here.  At the publisher's website there are two pages of printable activities.

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