The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2011.
When Lucy asks for a hug before bed, Mummy tells her it is her last one. Lucy promises to return it, and Mummy gives her a nice, gentle hug. Then Lucy runs off to share it with the other members of her family, where it becomes bigger and peanut-buttery, but still nice. The hug runs away with Annie, and Lucy chases her to get it back, but it’s not easy, and she really wants to give Mummy back her last hug.
This is a sweet book about sharing love within families and the differences each family member brings. It contains simple language suitable for emergent readers to try, and delightfully quirky illustrations. At the start of the story, Mummy appears to be searching for a skirt in the dirty wash pile in just her undies and shirt, despite it being almost bedtime. I liked that the house was messy, there were drawings on one of the walls and Mummy was breastfeeding the baby at the end. The steps in the house also made me think of the MC Escher house. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the illustrations, and the realistic portrayal of a house with four children in it.
The Runaway Hug is a nice book to share while cuddling up with your child. It leaves us with a warm and happy feeling each time we read it together. Best for preschoolers and lower primary school children, this award winning* picture book is loved by both my preschooler and my second grader.
* The Runaway Hug won The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category in 2012.