NOBODY HUGS A CACTUS
by Carter Goodrich
Simon & Schuster
ages 4 to 8
Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love.
Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed.
He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs.
But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely.
So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.
This little tale is prickly on the outside but will have the reader full of warm snuggles...but not enough to want to hug a cactus. Probably.
Hank is a happy sitting on his shelf all day long. Well, as long as nobody disturbs him. Every now and then, someone comes by. Hank chases them away as quickly as he can, but when one mentions that Hank is prickly because he needs a hug, he starts to think.
The artwork makes this a book to enjoy from the very first page, not because of the brightness but rather the way each one brings across fun and emotion. It's hard not to love Hank from the first moments, although he's as prickly as can be. His attitude will make listeners frown, and his problem becomes clear without being said. But this problem doesn't have an easy solution.
The way Hank handles his issue brings tons of warmth and it's hard not to smile or utter an 'awww'. The ending is a little quick, but still rounds off the tale nicely. This is one kids are sure to enjoy.
And here he is...
Carter Goodrich has illustrated sixteen New Yorker covers and was the lead character designer for Brave, Ratatouille (for which he won the International Animated Film Society's Annie Award for character design), and Despicable Me. He has designed characters for many other beloved animated films, including Finding Nemo; Monsters, Inc; and Open Season. Of the films he has worked on, four have gone on to win Academy Awards. A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, he has twice been awarded the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. His picture books include We Forgot Brock!, Say Hello to Zorro!, Zorro Gets an Outfit, Mister Bud Wears the Cone, A Creature Was Stirring, and The Hermit Crab. Carter lives in Los Angeles, California. Be sure to visit Carter at CarterGoodrich.com.