Friday, January 9, 2015

Hug Machine

Title: Hug Machine 
Author: Scott Campbell
Illustrator: Scott Campbell  
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 26th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Who have YOU hugged today? Open your arms to this delightfully tender, goofy, and sweet tale.

Watch out world, here he comes! The Hug Machine!

Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!
This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug - and this book! 
What I Think: Earlier this week, I saw a tweet that said that people who hug a lot actually get sick less than people who avoid hugs. I was excited because...I love hugs! It also made me think about this book and how it will be a perfect read for Valentine's Day. And it's great timing because Valentine's Day is just around the corner!
     As I've worked on my novel and am drafting another one, I've thought a lot about how a plot rolls out and I notice how this parallels storylines in picture books. Picture books are deceptive. While they are short and don't need a lot of text, it doesn't mean they are easy to write. I actually feel like they would be harder because of how tight the story has to be. I wrote a picture book when I had a flash of inspiration a couple of years ago but I haven't spent much time really closely studying the structure of picture books. This book makes me really excited to look at picture books more closely. And here's why! I love how Hug Machine starts with our little huggable hugger...but eventually he runs into an obstacle or two...and then after that, he runs out of steam but he figures out what to do to solve his problem. For some reason, the story map just really stuck out to me when I read Hug Machine and I think it would be great to include when looking at things like exposition, rising action, climax and resolution in a story. 
     I would also pair Hug MachineI with Kelly DiPucchio's Zombie in Love also illustrated by Scott Campbell. Zombie in Love is one of the most clever books I've ever seen and also fantastic for Valentine's Day - especially for boy and girl readers alike. When I reread Hug Machine and looked closely at the main character, I imagined him as a zombie. Maybe I was getting my books confused but it was fun to compare Scott's illustrations in these two books and to see how reading Zombie in Love might influence how we interpret Hug Machine. At first, I read it is a sweet book...then I read it with him as a tiny bit zombie-ish and it added some great personality to the boy. It reminded me a lot of my own kiddos who are always goofing around and being silly. I've found that it's not always easy to capture the essence of a character in writing but I love how this can be a great opportunity to talk about rereading and how the more we read, the more we bring to our reading. I love showing kids how great rereading is but also how we change as readers and how we bring our experiences to our reading.
Read Together: When Otis Courted Mama by Kathi Appelt, Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio 
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read With: Grades Pre-K - 5 
Snatch of Text:  
Here I come!
I am the Hug Machine!
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Compare and Contrast, Identifying Story Elements, Making an Inference, Visualizing, Rereading, Predicting
Writing Strategies to Practice: Plot, Characterization, Descriptive, Narrative  
Writing Prompts: Write about someone in your life who has a big personality. How might you capture their spirit by describing an interaction with him or her? 
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Generosity, Kindness
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