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Hug! and Peek-a-boo!: Magnetic Arms books by Ben Mantle

Books: Hug! and Peek-a-boo!
Author: Ben Mantle
Pages: 16 each
Age Range: 1-3

Tiger Tales Press recently released these two "Magnetic Arms" board books by Ben Mantle. For each book, arms reach out from the back cover, and wrap around to the front of the book. In Hug!, the mother bear's arms hug the baby.

In Peek-a-boo! (though you can't see this on the cover image to the left), hands cover the rabbit's eyes. In both cases, the arms are very lightly magnetized. They stay closed on their own, but are relatively easy for small fingers to open. They work as bookmarks, too. 

Both texts are quite simple. but more vibrant and active than the covers suggest. Hugs! celebrates a variety of types of animal hugs, like this:

"Hooray for hugs! They're so much fun.
There's a hug for everyone.

How about a squashy, squeezy,

twisty, tangly,
easy breezy,

... HUG!"

Where the ... represents two other rhyming page spreads showing different kinds of hugs. In the above example, different fonts are used for the adjectives, reflecting the meaning of each word. For example, "tangly" is shown with a twisted spiral font. and "squashy" has the letters all squashed together. 

Each page includes a colorful, not particularly representational, picture of a different type of animals hugging. The "twisty, tangly" hug involves two giraffes with their long necks twisted together. "Small and snug" (in small font) shows two mice hugging. And so on. The animals are clearly recognizable, though not always realistically colored. 

I like the energy of this book, with it's varied, bold fonts and assorted animals. The text is a bit sing-songy, though. It's not a book that parents will love reading aloud over and over again. But it's still a fun one for toddlers. 

Peek-a-boo! is quite similar. except that the pictures show different types of animals playing peek-a-boo. Generally, the right-hand page of each spread shows glimpses of a hiding animal, while that animal is revealed, and named on the left-hand side of the next page. The author again uses vibrant adjectives in varied fonts, and includes cute, if not quite realistic, animals. My favorite page was the "funny, bouncing bunnies in their underwear!"

Both Hug! and Peek-a-boo! are clearly designed to appeal to the youngest of readers. The magnetic arms add just a touch of interactivity, and also reinforce the very idea of hugging. 

Publisher: Tiger Tales Books (@TigerTalesBooks)
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook