Friday, June 08, 2007


Raina and I were at the library recently, and while she hugged an awfully ugly grey stuffed mouse (whom she loves and regularly visits at the lib.), we cuddled together and read a board book called "HUG" by Jez Alborough. The book's about a little chimp who sees mama elephant hugging baby elephant, mama hippo hugging baby, mama lizard with baby, you get the picture. Each time, the chimp points to them and says, "HUG!" A few frames later, the chimp looks sad because everyone's hugging and he wants one too. Soon, he starts to cry "HUG!" Next thing I know, these big, fat tears are plopping down my arm. "He wants a HUG!" wails my 3-year-old. "Why is he crying?"

I am speechless. "Err, he wants to get a hug from someone who loves him," I stutter. "Where is his MAMA?" she howls. "Right here," I say relieved, pointing to the next page. Mama Chimp yells "Bobo!" Baby Chimp yells back "Mama!" And they run towards each other and hug, very hindi movie style. Raina chuckles through her tears. All the animals hug each other, yelling "HUG!" one last time for good measure. The end.

We checked out the book at her insistence. She read it again, cried again. The third time she read it, she gave the book a hug to comfort Bobo. I am still nonplussed -- should I have read a book that obviously made her sad? Why did she want to read it again if it made her cry? Can kids that little be that empathetic? Is it good for them? I guess the third time she read it, she didn't cry and gave Bobo a hug. Is that about learning to control emotions and take action?

Am scratching my head over it.


Anonymous said...

why does your husband's blog have comments turned off? i wanted to write there that coach bo is the one reason i am a wolverine fan - his auto(?)biography was one of two books that got me started on american football.

- s.b.

p.s.: the other one is/was john madden's 'one knee equals two feet' - check them both out if you get a chance (and an interest to read up on the sport)

A Muser said...

Atomic Yoga had anonymous comments turned off because he was getting a bunch of junk mail -- and if you're one of coach Bo's fans, maybe your mail would qualify as junk too!!! Quote, unquote, the husband. Just kidding.

He also highly recommends "A Fire to Win: The Life and Times of Woody Hayes" as compulsory reading for any Wolverine fan. And FYI, Bo played and coached under Woody. GO BUCKEYES! :)))

the mad momma said...

baby lit sucks. why else would snow white be posioned, the little mermaid die, handsel and gretel get lost, ... i could go on.

namvor said...

hi here first time, came via mad momma's blog.

have been reading 'hug' with my 2 yr old recently and i felt exactly the same as you did when i leafed through it the first time. anyway now the lil one knows the plot so patiently waits till the mummy bit and then claps in glee.

there's another bobo-mummy one called 'tall' btw.

not sure how old your child is but would highly recommend these three classics for a toddler/preschooler - 'handa's surprise', 'the very hungry caterpillar' and 'dear zoo'. maybe even 'gruffalo' - this one is slightly scary but again once they know the plot its fine.

hey this is a loong comment!

namvor said...

oh she is 3. will ove the ones i mentioned earlier unless of course you already have them!

A Muser said...

You know, I was reading recently that we're so anxious to spare our children any anxiety that we veer them away from fairy tales and books that have the slightest hint of bad emotions. Books like those apparently help children realize and process that bad things to happen but it's not the end of the world if they do. That made me feel a whole lot better.
Namvor, thanks for your suggestions. Raina loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar and has had it for years. These days, she's into big bad wolves in The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. She's very happy to call them "BAD." Will check out the others you mentioned.

namvor said...

hey me again.

yup maybe you are right about the handling 'bad' emotions bit. btw there is a collection called 'seriously silly stories' which are all the traditional fairy tales changed to make them politically correct and are totally hilarious. appeals even to a 4-5 year old's sense of humour though they would possibly appreciate them more and more as they grow older.