David Melling chats about Hugless Douglas

David Melling is one of my favourite picture book author/illustrators and I absolutely love Hugless Douglas.  He’s a cute character who children and adults love.  There’s even a very cool Hugless Douglas app, with the story read by the wonderful Alan Davies.

David has a great website (www.davidmelling.co.uk) where you can find out more about him and his work, and you can even buy some very reasonably-priced prints (I’ve got the Hugless Douglas one on my wall).  I’d love to have a giant Hugless Douglas costume like the one on his blog.  I’ll have to try and convince my library to buy one.

My Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years

I’ve been doing a lot of reading aloud to preschoolers and primary school children lately and I’ve noticed that I always read similar books to each group.  I thought I’d post my top 5 read alouds for 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-12 years in case anyone is looking for great read alouds for their children or their class.  First up, here are my Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years.

1. Hugless Douglas by David Melling (and the other books featuring Douglas)

Hugless Douglas is one of my favourite picture book characters and I always look forward to another book featuring this loveable bear.  He’s cute, silly, and loves his hugs.  David Melling really knows how to write and illustrate for children, particularly preschoolers, and he’s created a character that every child will love.  Hugless Douglas is the perfect match of text and gorgeous illustrations.  David’s illustrations make Douglas look so cuddly and loveable which makes him appealing to children and adults.

2. Zoe and Beans: Where is Binky Boo? by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Zoe and Beans are two new characters that star in their own series of picture books.  They are the creation of father and daughter team, Chloe and Mick ‘Kipper’ Inkpen.  In the first book in the series, Where is Binky Boo? Beans the dog has lost his favourite toy and Zoe helps him find it.  The illustrations are gorgeous and the stories are that rare blend of both cute and funny.  Zoe is brimming with confidence and a love for adventure that children can relate to.  Children will beg for them to be read again and again, and I’m sure parents will be only too willing to.

3. Fancy Dress Farmyard by Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratt is a real favourite of mine.  He writes and illustrates consistently brilliant picture books that have children rolling around with laughter.  Books like Moo-Cow, Kung-Fu Cow and Elephant Wellyphant really spark the imaginations of children and make them laugh.  Fancy Dress Farmyard is great for preschoolers because it’s a game of peekaboo and the illustrations are bright, bold and funny.

4. Roadworks by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Both Roadworks, and the follow-up book, Demolition, are great especially for boys in this age group.  A lot of them become fascinated with how things work, especially diggers and dump-trucks.  Roadworks is a beautiful book, from the asphalt-patterned end papers to the bold illustrations and the big, blocky words that stand out on the page.  It’s a great book to read aloud because the children can join in with you by making the sounds, like SPLOSHY! SPLASHY! SPLISHY!  Roadworks shows a road being built from start to finish, and Demolition shows a building being demolished step by step.

5. Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough

Jez Alborough is another author/illustrator whose picture books I love.  Duck in the Truck has been out since 1999 but I still love reading this aloud to children regularly.  The rhythm and rhyme is perfect so it flows really well as you read it and children love the illustrations, especially the animals driving cars.  Children love Duck because he’s so silly and always getting himself in trouble.  Another of Jez’s books that is perfect for this age group is The Gobble, Gobble, Moooo Tractor Book, because the children get to make lots of animal noises while you read the book.

All of these books are great for older children too, but I’ve chosen these because they work particularly well for this age group.  I have used all of these in my Story Time (for 2-5 years) at my library and the children love them.  I’d love to know what your favourites are for this age group.

Picture Book Nook: Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep by David Melling

I fell in love with Hugless Douglas from the moment I set eyes on this adorable bear.  He’s the bear that nobody wants to hug (apart from everyone who reads the book) and who ruins his wooly hat.  In his latest hilarious outing, Douglas has been invited to a sleepover at Rabbit’s house, but when Douglas is around, things don’t quite go as planned.

Douglas has been invited to a sleepover at Rabbit’s house so he packs his bag and makes his way through the forest.  Rabbit is happy to see everyone and invites them all inside, but however hard they push and pull, Douglas doesn’t fit.  Rabbit decides to dig a bigger hole and everyone squeezes inside for a bedtime story.  Everything is going fine until Little Sheep tickles Douglas’ nose and makes him sneeze.  Will anyone get any sleep?

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep is a perfect picture book that children and adults will love, whether at bedtime or any other time of the day.  David Melling is the king of picture books and I love both his wonderful words and his marvelous illustrations.  With his signature red scarf to his bumble bee pyjamas, Hugless Douglas is a cuddly, loveable character that deserves a place next to the Gruffalo, Spot, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  He’s full of enthusiasm and always ends up squashing a sheep or two.  However you’re feeling Hugless Douglas will cheer you up and make you laugh.  One of my favourite things in these books are the end pages featuring the sheep and rabbits.  In the other books they’ve modeled different hugs and hats, and in Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep they model the different things you would take for a sleepover.  I hope there are many more Hugless Douglas books planned because I can’t get enough of this loveable bear.

5 out of 5 stars


Picture Book Nook: Don’t Worry Douglas! by David Melling

Douglas, the loveable bear who wants a hug is one of my favourite picture book characters.  David Melling really knows how to write and illustrate for children, particularly preschoolers, and he’s created a character that every child will love.  In his first picture book outing, Hugless Douglas, our bear friend just wanted a hug, but he never seemed to be able to find the right type of hug.  In Don’t Worry Douglas! he’s given a special wooly hat by his dad and he goes off to show his friends.  On the way out the door his dad tells him to look after it, but this is exactly what Douglas doesn’t do.  His hat gets caught on a tree and slowly unravels.  The other animals say “Don’t worry Douglas” and try to help him put it back together.  But what will Douglas’s dad think?

Don’t Worry Douglas is the perfect match of text and gorgeous illustrations.  David’s illustrations make Douglas look so cuddly and loveable which makes him appealing to children and adults.  His child-like qualities and personality are something that children can relate to and you can’t help but want to help him out, give him a cuddle and tell him everything will be OK.  One thing I particularly love about David Melling’s illustrations is that he portrays emotion so well in both the facial expressions and body language of his characters.  The illustration of Douglas wearing his wooly hat that his dad just gave him captures that excitement and joy so perfectly.  I can’t recommend David Melling highly enough and urge you to go to your library or bookshop and get all of his books!  They’re perfect for any age.