Hedgehog wakes up on day feeling very blue. He’s sure he’ll feel better if only he can get a hug, so he sets out to find one. He asks Rabbit, but she’s got a cold and scampers into her burrow. Raccoon pleads garbage breath and disappears into his log; Turtle doesn’t even wake up. Fox is the only one willing to give him a huge, but she’s got an ulterior motive - and Hedgehog doesn’t feel bad about giving her a mouthful of spikes, even if he’s still blue and longing for a hug. Finally, Hedgehog meets a friend who also wants a hug: Skunk. Will he take a chance and give her a hug?
Hedgehog is careful to ask permission of every creature, and even though he’s sad and disappointed that they won’t give him a hug, he doesn’t get mad or blame them for being afraid of his prickles. He doesn’t accept a hug from Fox, no matter how much he wants one, because he knows she doesn’t really care about him, she just wants to eat him!
The lush mixed media illustrations - watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil - are delightful. Glowing green forests with smudged in plants and soft yellow shafts of light are the background for Hedgehog’s quest. He is a sweet little creature, with a spiny brown back, soft cream front, and pink nose, ears, and paws. Splashes of color - the rich red of Fox’s coat, dark blue and green shadows as Hedgehog crouches under a bush, and rich green-brown of Turtle’s shell - shine through the story
Verdict: A truly lovely and beautifully written debut picture book. I look forward to many more titles from Betton and strongly recommend this one for use in storytimes or one-on-one reading.
ISBN: 9781524737122; Published 2018 by G. P. Putnam/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library