I’ve already written in the past about illustrator Tim Warnes’ collaborations with PJ Lyons–Thank You, Lord, For Everything and God Is Watching Over You. These two books became instant classics in our house. They are about as perfect as children’s books can get–a simple but wonderful story, very natural rhymes, and illustrations that are both adorable and engaging.
I’m Going to Give you a Bear Hug, this new collaboration between Tim Warnes as illustrator and bestselling author Caroline B. Coonie hits it out of the park again. Caroline B. Cooney isn’t the first author I’d think of for a children’s book–she’s probably best known for her young adult suspense, mystery, and romance novels, including The Face on the Milk Carton which sold over 3 million copies.
This book is the furthest thing from the genres Cooney usually writes about–it’s one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read. The book starts out with the simple phrase told by a mother to her son, “I’m going to give you a bear hug–a good night, sleep tight, way beyond compare hug”, ending with a picture of a giant fluffy bear hugging the child. The book then goes through a series of other animals–a dog, a cat, a horse, a duck, a pig, a fish, a whale, a bug, a sheep and talks about how she’s going to give her child a hug with all the best qualities of those animals. The last few pages take it back to the bear, and end on a sweet note of the mother tucking her child into bed.
It’s a phenomenal bedtime book, but so much more. The writing is stellar, with rhymes that are as beautfully artistic as they are simple. And the illustrations are so adorable you want to reach through the pages and hug the animals too. It’s a book you can’t help but look at and smile.
This book on the short list of one of the sweetest children’s books I’ve ever read. It’s one I’ll definitely be keeping at the front of my shelf.