Lisa Kerr, Big Hug, Little Mouse, Walker Books Australia, March 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760651107
This brightly illustrated story is about friendship and kindness. Millie is a little mouse who loves many things, but one thing above all else… her friends. Millie offers hugs all around and spreads her happiness with this simple gesture. When she wakes one day and is not her cheerful self, Millie believes her sadness is a sign that she has lost her hug. With the help of her friend, Harry, Millie goes in search of her lost hug. She discovers that the hugs her friends give her have the power to bring back her happiness.
Millie is a delightful character who shows that we can’t always be happy and in fact sometimes we may feel sad. On these days, friends can help bring back our cheer. Author, Lisa Kerr places importance on friendship and the reciprocation of kindness in this story. Using the lack of physical contact of a hug as a means to express sadness is a clever metaphor for young readers and emphasises the importance of human contact for mental health in our young children.
The illustrations are bright and eye-catching for their detail. Young readers can pour over the miniscule creatures hidden in double page spreads, tiny snails, baby birds in nests and much loved toys. If readers look closely they will find Millie’s little yellow teddy discreetly positioned on each page, a fact that was pointed out to me by my delighted six-year-old daughter.
I’d recommend this gentle story for young readers between three and six.
Reviewed by Katie Mineeff