Book Review – The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland


The Runaway Hug


This is such a sweet story. There’s nothing complex about it, but it always makes me feel cosy and I never tire of reading it; which, considering my son asked for it every night for about 3,000 years, is quite remarkable!


The Runaway Hug won the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Early Childhood Book of the Year award in 2011. The simple plotline is: as Lucy is getting ready for bed, she asks her Mum for a hug. Her Mum tells her it is her very last hug, so she has to be sure to give it back. Lucy then travels around the house to all the members of her family, giving them the ‘last hug’ and then making sure they return it. As I said, simple, but awfully sweet. A really lovely bedtime read.

Why I love it:

I think one of the main reasons I love The Runaway Hug, is that my kids love it so much and they don’t love it because it’s silly or funny, they love it, I think, because it makes them feel safe and secure. They love relating to the family in the story and, honestly, they just love any excuse to have a cuddle – who doesn’t?!! Every single day when I drop my daughter at school, one of the last things she says to me, as I get yet another cuddle, is: “Wait… you’ve got my last hug.”

Themes to discuss with your child:

The main theme of this book, is family. The Runaway Hug provides a great opportunity to discuss how those we love make us feel and important affection is to our happiness and security. Other, smaller themes would be: keeping your word, accepting differences in people (the way the twins grumble about the hug) and dynamics of family/pets.

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • What emotion do you think the girl on the front cover is feeling?
  • Look at the sticker in the top right corner of the cover, what is this? What do you think it means?
  • At what time of day do you think this book is set? What makes you think that?
After reading:
  • How does this book make you feel?
  • Why do you think Lucy ‘felt terrible’ when Annie ran off with the last hug?
  • The twins grumbled when Lucy hugged them, do you think that means they don’t love Lucy?
  • Does Lucy have a nice family? What makes you think this?
  • Is there anything about this story that reminds you of your family? Tell me about it.
  • Have a look back through the book and look at the expressions on the family members’ faces; what are they? Is this a happy family?
  • What’s one bedtime routine you have?

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