The Giant Hug

( 3 )

Overview

How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course!

Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight ...

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Overview

How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course!

Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

When Owen sends a real hug to his grandmother for her birthday he inadvertently brings cheer to the postal workers as they pass the hug along.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“HORNING SERVES UP a cheerful and heartwarming scenario sure to capture the imagination of little ones and those who dote on them. Her kind, respectful animal characters have just the right touch of credibility, making this perfectly pleasant world seem possible. Gorbachev’s ink-andwatercolor artwork charms, featuring a menagerie of friendly, helpful critters.”—Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
In this comical, sweet-natured picture book, a perky piglet named Owen finds an inventive way to send love long distance when he arranges to mail a "giant hug" cross-country to his granny. Not content to draw a picture of himself hugging Granny, Owen announces to his mother "I want to send a real hug. I'll give the mailman a hug and ask him to send it to Granny." Luckily, Owen finds a host of supportive if slightly incredulous postal personnel willing to help. From the local mail sorter Ms. Porter, a lamb, to the ursine pilot who flies the mail closer to its far-away destination, each employee provides a link in the hug-passing chain. And better yet, the delivery team gets a goodwill boost as each embraces the hugging spirit (one hug even precipitates a date). When Granny finally receives her special mail, she sends something equally interesting back to Owen. In her picture-book debut Horning serves up a cheerful and heartwarming scenario sure to capture the imagination of little ones and those who dote on them. Her kind, respectful animal characters have just the right touch of credibility, making this perfectly pleasant world seem possible. Gorbachev's (Silly and Sillier) ink-and-watercolor artwork charms, featuring a menagerie of friendly, helpful critters which sometimes suggest an enlarged version of Richard Scarry's Busytown. In an amusing scene, Gorbachev makes even a mail-truck-driving porcupine huggable. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
What could be sweeter than a grandchild giving a grandparent a big hug? Little Owen loves his granny and that is what he wants to send for her birthday, but how can he do that we he lives so far away. Owen's solution is clever. He goes to the post office and asks the postal clerk if he can send a hug. While the request is unusual, the postal worker says that he will give it a try. The story is then set up for a series of amusing situations where the hug is transferred from one postal worker to another. It goes to the mail sorter, to the driver who collects the mail where it is again transferred to another driver who takes it to the airport and hugs the pilot. The mail moves yet again and so does the hug until it finally reaches its destination. Granny is delighted and in return she decides to send her grandson a great big kiss. The closing page shows Owen with a big kiss imprinted on his little face. So readers can only assume that the same series of events have taken place. The drawings are entertaining as all of the participants are an assortment of anthropomorphic animals. Kids and grandparents will enjoy reading this story together. It would work as well for a birthday as for Valentine's Day. Postal workers watch out—this request may come to you; and unfortunately in today's society it may not be taken in the light and sweet vein it is intended. 2005, Alfred A Knopf Young Readers/Random House, Ages 4 to 8.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-When Owen the pig decides to send a hug to his grandmother, a mere drawing of one just won't do. At the post office, he gives the clerk Granny's address along with an affectionate embrace. That hug is passed from postal employee to pilot to driver to mail deliverer as it travels cross-country, inadvertently bringing cheer and a little extra caring into the workers' lives. In the satisfying ending, Granny sends a kiss back to Owen by bussing her mail carrier. As readers follow the hug's progress, they learn about the path a letter takes and the individuals involved in getting it from sender to receiver. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are filled with warm colors. The expressions on the characters' faces put one in mind of Richard Scarry's artwork, although the animals here are much larger. While some of the more subtle reactions and embarrassment evinced by the huggers may pass right over children's heads, the reactions of the recipients will delight them. Pair this slightly wordy tale with Don Carter's Send It! (Millbrook, 2003) and Gail Gibbons's The Post Office Book (HarperCollins, 1982) for sprightly glimpses into the mail and how it moves.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This predictable story has an old-fashioned feel. Owen, a furry-looking pig-child wants to send his far-off grandmother a hug for her birthday. His mother takes him to the local post office, where he offers a hug to an employee. That hug gets passed along from person to person until it arrives at his granny's house, much to her surprise and pleasure. Some of the hugs along the way are awkward, some uplifting, and one seems to spark a bit of romance. Horning's straightforward text suits the innocently sweet intentions of her main character and makes the unlikely plotline believable (would co-workers in 2005 really embrace one another quite so blithely?). Gorbachev's illustrations are likewise well suited to the story's retro feel. Characters are anthropomorphized animals and settings are cheerily idealized in watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations reminiscent of Wallace Tripp and Richard Scarry. Young listeners may learn a bit about how mail travels cross-country and admire Owen's ingenuity, but this quiet story seems more likely to appeal to grandparents than to their energetic grandkids. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553112627
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 349,982
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.06 (d)

Meet the Author

This is Sandra Horning’s first book for Knopf. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and children.

Valeri Gorbachev is the illustrator of many acclaimed books for children. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Perfect story for long distance Grandma and Grandson relationship

    My grandson (in California) and I (in Pennsylvania) loved this book. It was a present to him on my last visit and I read it over and over on his request. Well written and cute story. Would recommend it to all who have a long distance relationship with their grand children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    Love it!

    My son absolutely loves this book. He's picked it as his bedtime story almost every night since it came (to the point that his older brother hid it).

    Love the way the kids get a behind-the-scenes look at how the mail works while also hearing a very cute story. Great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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