A Hug is for Holding Me
Lisa Wheeler and Lisk Feng
As a father and child stroll together, the former invites the little girl to become a nature observer. ’Look around and you will see / all the things a hug can be.’
The adult likens what they see to aspects of the natural springtime world and the child then responds. They notice a nest of speckled eggs, cocoons:
‘Cocoons are strong / yet gentle hugs, / and then, / surprisingly … // the air is filled with wondrous wings! / Your hug amazes me.’
… flower buds and seashells
during their meander that is lyrically described by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Lisa Feng in attractive stylised spreads of the two humans enjoying one another’s company among the flora and fauna.
Embrace nature, embrace one another, that is the essence of this book to share between parent and child.
In complete contrast is the outing shared by parent and infant in this story where engagement between adult and child appears non-existent :
Harper Collins Children’s Books
This ironic tale of a mother totally absorbed in a conversation on her mobile while in the park with her toddler is something of a departure for the amazing Judith Kerr.
It certainly isn’t the gentle mummy time story one might anticipate from the cover picture and opening page – far from it.
Almost the entire verbal narrative takes the form of mum’s mobile conversation with a friend as she leaves the house for the park with her little boy for some ‘mummy time’.
Ensconced on a bench, she chats away about a recent party, the people who were there, the food, the changing fortunes for the better of her hosts and the ill-fortune that seems to dog her own life.
Meanwhile, as the pictures show, the toddler is engaged in a real life encounter with a large dog,
a spot of pigeon and duck food sampling, an unplanned dip in the pond, a ride on a swan, a treetop tumble,
a close encounter with a minibeast and a comforting cuddle from that dog again.
Strangely these parallel worlds of mum and toddler collide for mum’s conversation becomes a commentary on the pictorial action so beautifully portrayed by Judith Kerr.
An altogether intriguing book and a side-swipe at the human obsession with mobile phones. ‘Mummy Time’ seems to be just that, not time for mummy and toddler together.