Review & animation: While We Can't Hug

Book Title: While We Can't Hug (available here)

Author: Eoin McLaughlin

Illustrator: Polly Dunbar

Publisher: Faber Children's

Publication Date: June 2020

Reviewed By: Alison Leach

An endearing new picture book inspired by the difficult times we are living in and the strangeness of social distancing as felt by those used to expressing their affections physically. The story is specially written for the times we are currently experiencing - when terms like social distance, new normal and 2 metres apart have become every day phrases - but it also draws on timeless themes of overcoming barriers in order to connect with those we love.

Tortoise and Hedgehog are best friends and the realisation that they can no longer hug due to social distancing rules makes them feel strange and sad. Along comes wise owl, who sagely explains that there may be other ways to express one's affection for someone else. The pair try out a host of new ways, from painting pictures and making music to waving and pulling funny faces, finding joy in a series of new means of showing each other that they care.

Beautifully illustrated, this is a joyful book that draws on the power of focussing on what we can do rather than what we can’t. The story taps into feelings that will be familiar to all ages at the moment and provides comfort and reassurance in the strangest of times. The story will no doubt be cherished by old and young who have found their own paths through the sorrow of being physically apart for a while.

As part of the blog tour, the publishers have invited us to host a special animation of the story:

You can order While We Can't Hug online or from your local bookshop or library.


Many thanks to the publishers at Faber & Faber for sending us a review copy of this lovely book.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too!


Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

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> View our printable year group booklists.

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