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HUGO by Atinuke


by Atinuke ; illustrated by Birgitta Sif

Pub Date: June 8th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1275-4
Publisher: Candlewick

A pigeon named Hugo enjoys the job of looking after a park in a Francophone city.

Hugo is a park warden. His job is to look after the park and the people who live around it. Through the seasons, Hugo keeps people company, encourages them to walk, cleans up after children, and entertains little ones. In the winter, Hugo visits people at their windows to remind them that spring will be back. There is one window whose curtains never open when Hugo visits. But Hugo persists, and one day Somebody appears at the window and smiles. Somebody, who is a little Black child, slowly becomes a good friend of Hugo’s, and when Hugo is injured, Somebody takes care of Hugo. But when Hugo is ready to go back to work, Somebody is sad…until the new friendship draws her outside as well. In this role reversal, human characters are seen as creatures needing care and community. Atinuke’s engaging storytelling style works well in this picture book, giving Hugo a personality, voice, and purpose that young readers will latch onto. Soft-lined illustrations with gentle pastel colors use a well-paced mix of double-page spreads, full-page scenes, and small vignettes to capture a changing environment filled with diverse personalities.

A layered, affecting story of friendship and community.

(Picture book. 3-9)