We Love You, Hugless Douglas: David Melling
(Hodder Children’s Books, 2013)
There’s a commonly held belief that for Star Trek films (the ones with the original cast at least), the even numbered in the series are superior to the odd. I mention this because I’ve found the opposite with the Hugless Douglas books… Hugless Douglas and Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep are examples of the best in picture books; Don’t Worry, Hugless Douglas and We Love You, Hugless Douglas are merely very good!
Don’t Worry, Hugless Douglas was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Awards 2012 and all four are excellent books in a series that I not only recommend wholeheartedly but also dedicated a blog week and a Pinterest board to so I am perhaps a teeny bit over critical…
In this tale, Douglas bumps into Flossie the sheep who has lost her best friend. Together, Flossie and Douglas set off to look for Little Sheep. For reasons not quite explained, Flossie is stuck (literally) to Douglas. This is reminiscent of the sheep sticking to Douglas’ back in The Big Sleep and where Douglas finds Flossie stuck in the tree. We even get a Thank-You Hug
Cow from Don’t Worry makes a return, with her best friend and new characters in the form of (unnamed and unmentioned, perhaps they are in book 5?) hedgehogs. Rabbit returns with a troop of bouncing bunnies (maybe one of them is the original rabbit from Hugless Douglas that, being male, hasn’t been seen since?)
Flossie and Little Sheep are reunited after a rummage through a leafy bush filled with bric-a-brac and just one sheep this time, but Douglas starts to feel sad because he doesn’t have a friend like all the other characters they’d met. Fortunately wise old owl doesn’t call Douglas a twit this time, but instead shows Douglas how loved he really is.
As usual, the illustrations are pieces of perfection with many details to look out for. For any child with the series of books, there are so many parts that refer to other books throughout the series that each book is a joy to re-read over and over. Highlights for us were the adorable hedgehogs and crazy bouncing bunnies, but my personal favourite illustration is the double spread where Douglas sits alone and melancholy because of the emotion that seeps through.
The final double spread is full of “I [heart] something” images and are MG & DG’s favourite part. We choose our favourites from the selection, on the last reading MG chose “I [heart] my mum” and DG chose “I [heart] my dad”
We Love You, Hugless Douglas is published on 3rd January 2013 in the UK and is well worth getting for the illustrations alone.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of We Love You, Hugless Douglas by Hachette Childrens Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.