You deserve a hug

Happy new years to you! There is a pomp and circumstance that comes with the start of a new year. The promise of a new beginning, a new you, a new me. But honestly, every morning should begin that way if we are to truly improve, achieve, evolve. And for me, it does as I revel in the mornings. But ask me as the day descends and generally I can’t wait until the new sun to try again. But that’s okay, “They can’t all be winners.” Every morning is an opportunity to make yesterday better, at least different. So go on, give yourself a hug and pomp and circumstance away.

With that I’d like to introduce a marvellous gem to start this year: Hug Machine by Scott Campbell. Introduced back in 2014, it is illustriously water-coloured in cool hues. A boy with an arm span longer than his height goes about his day hugging everything and everyone he sees. Everything is hugged: his unaffected older sister, the unassuming fire hydrant, the spiky porcupine, the construction man’s saw horse. The last hug lets us know that “the Hug Machine is always open for business.” Quite simple really. And not even in a Hallmark I was thinking of you cheese-o-rama way. I think it is easy to get saccharine when the subject matter is about hugs. Scott Campbell, however, renders a lovely story about kindness.

The Hug Machine is available to hug anyone, anytime, whether they are square or long, spiky or soft.

Ankle Biter 1 liked the two-page spread of the Hug Machine doing what he likes best. “He just hugged me.”  But Ankle Biter also resonated with the situation where a baby was assuaged with a hug. After the book reading, Ankle Biter 2 was the source of Ankle Biter 1’s affections. Nice.

When I first spied the cover, I thought the post box was the Hug Machine. I mean think about it. Snail mail/stamped post received is certainly a hug from afar. But maybe that’s inspiration for another day. I adored the book for the other two-page spread of Hug Machine’s activities. Reminiscent of Keane’s Family Circus where Billy trapezes through the neighbourhood (have I dated myself???!), a dotted line showcases the Hug Machine’s adventures through his neighbourhood. As an independently mobile child, the Hug Machine fearlessly roams his neighbourhood and interacts freely with its people. As it should be. It’s not pollyanna but reflective of a close knit neighbourhood. An urban imagined I’m currently trying to activate for the ankle biters.

[Above image: Hug Machine]

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Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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