Hugo by Atinuke, Illustrated by Birgitta Sif

Hugo by Atinuke, Illustrated by Birgitta Sif, Published by Candlewick Press, 9781536212754, 2021 (first US edition)

Format: Hardcover, 32 pages

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book?  This tale, with beautiful digital illustrations, will strike a note with readers who have experienced loneliness.  Hugo, the pigeon, takes his job as a park warden very seriously.  He interacts with all of his Parisian patrons, assisting them in a myriad of ways from keeping them company to cleaning up after them.  He notices a window on the park which is never open and decides to investigate.  Eventually he meets the little girl who lives there, and he becomes her friend.  Their friendship prospers until Hugo is hurt and needs help.  Saving him from an imminent demise, she brings him back to health in her flat.  She is unwilling to set him free once he has recovered.  A sweet tale of friendship whose theme of “if you love something set it free” is not lost on readers.  Youngsters will be enchanted with the pictures, Hugo, and the persistent theme of friendship.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It would have been nice to have a translation of the few French words used in the text for younger readers. 

To whom would you recommend this book? Young readers, grades PreK to 2 who enjoy stories about friendship or pigeons will enjoy this tale.

Who should buy this book?  Educators in elementary schools or story time presenters might have a use for this story’s theme of friendship.

Where would you shelve it? Picture book

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  I feel that this title would reside near the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon Intermediate School, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: June 25, 2021

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