Hugs from Pearl by Paul Schmid
Pearl is a very friendly little porcupine, and one of her favorite things to do is give everyone hugs. But porcupines are prickly and Pearl’s hugs hurt! At first Pearl tried keeping Band-Aids handy after hugs, but she didn’t like to make her friends say “Ouch!” Then she tried pin cushions on her quills, but that took way too long and she couldn’t reach them all. Pearl tried a long hot bath, but her quills refused to soften. Pearl decided that she just couldn’t give hugs any more. But then she got inspiration on her way home from school when she saw some bees buzzing happily among the thorny roses. Could Pearl have figured out the trick to pain-free hugs from a porcupine?
Schmid has created a story that is simply told and can be read solely as a book about a little porcupine, but it is also a story that could be used for discussions about what each of us has that is prickly and hurts other people and how we can solve it. The story has a touch of heartache and a real sweetness to it that never becomes sickly sweet or overbearing, instead it has a great freshness to it.
The art is equally fresh with its charming mix of pale greens and pinks. Pearl herself glows with her pale pink blush, popping on each page compared to the other animals. Her facial expressions manage to convey deep emotions even though they are just a few lines on the page. The simplicity in both the text and the illustrations make the book very enticing.
This book is a shining example that adorable, sweet books can also be stirring and warm. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.