Part of my storytime responsibilities at my current library are planning and performing baby and toddler storytimes each week. I have two classes, Babytime and Mini-Movers which are for children up to 3 years old. I love seeing the smiles on these faces and we always have a great time together singing and playing. It’s also a supportive outlet for parents and caregivers to have some ‘adult’ conversation time. I’ve met some great families along the way and am glad they continue to choose my classes for storytime.
This fall for one of my September Mini-Movers classes, I chose a newly published picture book called, Hug Machine by Peter Cambpell.
At first, I thought, this is probably more appropriate for a Valentine’s theme, but as soon as I read it was hooked! Hug Machine is a delightfully simple story about a little boy who declares himself, the Hug Machine. He then proceeds to go around town and hug everyone and everything in sight, spreading love, joy and kindness to all. At the end of the day, he finds himself too tired to hug, and then is surprised by a huge hug from his mom. The story has been compared to Shel Silverstein poem “Hug O’ War,’ a modern classic indeed. This book illustrates with soft, gentle and warm colors the feelings and emotions one gets when reading that poem. It’s a fantastic author debut from Cambpell and has received much critical acclaim from Kirkus, School Library Journal and hundreds of reader reviews at Goodreads.
Reading the book with a cozy puppet in hand and letting the children hug him, made for an even warmer story. Asking the kids if they like hugs and can they hug someone they love, were easy questions and provided an attention grabber for wandering toddlers. Adding in a simple fingerplay further illustrated the theme of friendship and even added counting and math concepts. It was an all around, heart-warming and fun storytime. Books such as these make great selections for reading aloud and sharing with children of all ages. I can’t wait to see what Cambpell comes out with next!