The Hug written by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Polly Dunbar

It’s very special to read a picture book to a child and watch the emotions play out on their faces as the story unfolds. The Hug had that very effect on Little P. It contains two stories, one at the front of the book and one at the back, read separately but both coming to the same heart warming conclusion in the centre of the book.

The first story is about hedgehog who really needs a hug but all the animals that he meets find an excuse not to give him one. Then he meets Owl who explains that maybe the other animals are put off by hedgehog’s prickles. ‘But don’t worry there’s someone for everyone’ Owl tells the sad little hedgehog.

The second story is about tortoise who ALSO really needs a hug but all the animals that he meets find an excuse not to give him one. Then he meets Owl who explains that maybe the other animals are put off by tortoise’s hard shell. ‘But don’t worry there’s someone for everyone’ Owl tells the sad little tortoise.

Finally destiny intervenes and brings hedgehog and tortoise together in the warmest, cuddliest, happiest of hugs. Owl was right there really is someone for everyone!

Polly Dunbar brings all the characters to life with her vivid illustrations in Eoin McLaughlin’s wonderful story about emotions, love and empathy.

It was a joy to watch Little P get lost in this book. She fell in love with hedgehog and tortoise, full of sympathy when they had nobody to give them a hug. When they finally meet and hug each other she has the widest smile on her face every time we read it! She also gets a lot of fun from the two stories in one book. The Hug scores a nine out of ten on the P-OMETER.

The Hug written by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Polly Dunbar is published by Faber & Faber. ISBN: 9780571340019

Our Top 5 Books for Bedtime

What is the perfect recipe for a bedtime story? In my experience it’s loveable characters, a gentle story, not too much action and a reassuring and comforting conclusion. Here are five of our favourites that send Little P to sleep with happy thoughts every time.

Lily is a little bunny who is finding it difficult to sleep with all the noises in her farmyard home. Her mother manages to quiet all the distracting sounds while Lily gets some help from her animal friends. A lullaby from duck, a bedtime story from cow and some nice soft straw from the hens. Eventually Lily falls fast asleep and makes quite a bit of noise herself (snore snore!!).

Hushabye Lily is written by Claire Freedman, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello and published by Little Tiger Press. ISBN: 1-85430-811-4

Twinkling stars, a cosy underground home and gentle woodland creatures. Mole’s Star even leaves me feeling wonderfully relaxed at bedtime! Mole loves the stars so much that when he finds a shooting star he makes a wish to bring them all inside his dark underground home. But when Mole realises just how much the other woodland animals miss the stars in the night sky they all work together to get them back up there.

Mole’s Star written & illustrated by Britta Teckentrup is published by Orchard Books. ISBN: 978-1-40834-282-4



This is a perfect book for establishing (and maybe reinforcing!) a bedtime routine. Everything from bathing to the brushing of teeth is part of this comic and affectionate story. Little P‘s favourite part is the selection of ‘cuddlies’ to take to bed. But when the friends find a lonely little creature hiding under their bed with no cuddly of his own they’re all willing to share. This is a great book for children who love to bring their own special cuddly toy to bed.

Once Upon a Bedtime written & illustrated by David Melling is published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978-0-340-98970-8

We return to Winnie the Pooh at bedtime time and time again. Our favourite stories are: In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place, In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents and In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition [sic] to the North Pole. A.A. Milne’s writing is so fluent and easy to read. The characters are gentle and friendly and every story has such a heartwarming ending. The stories are just the right length for bedtime and sometimes a paperback, with only a few pictures like this one, works well at bedtime because Little P just sits back and listens to the story.

Winnie the Pooh written by A.A. Milne & illustrated by E. Shephard is published by Penguin Modern Classics. ISBN: 978-0-14-240467-6.

There’s nothing like a magical story before bedtime to make sure that little heads have sweet dreams! Two adventurous girls discover a bog baby on a fishing trip to the woods. He is such a cute little thing they decide to keep him as a pet. But when the bog baby starts to look sad their Mum teaches them one of life’s great lessons. Sometimes if you really love something you have to set it free. This is a wonderful story for nature lovers and the illustrations of the woods are almost dreamlike they are so beautiful.

The Bog Baby written by Jeanne Willis & illustrated by Gwen Millward is published by Puffin Books. ISBN: 978-0-141-50030-0.