Cover image for The giant hug
The giant hug
Horning, Sandra, 1970-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [2005]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When Owen sends a real hug to his grandmother for her birthday he inadvertently brings cheer to the postal workers as they pass the hug along.
Reading Level:
AD 830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.9 0.5 82301.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.9 1 Quiz: 36116 Guided reading level: J.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course!

Owen's hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev's adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning's charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

Author Notes

Sandra Horning lives in Narberth, PA.

Valeri Gorbachev's is the illustrator for Silly & Sillier by Judy Sierra. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Even if you take Woody Guthrie's Mail Myself to You literally, it's difficult to express the depth and breadth of affection through postal-service channels. But Owen, a young pig, is determined to send his grandmother a GIANT hug for her birthday. So he hugs the postal clerk and offers these instructions: Please make the hug just as giant when you pass it on to the mailman. So begins a transcontinental hug relay. Gorbachev's cast of animal characters, drawn with a Richard Scarry-like sense of whimsy, are well chosen to emphasize the relevant personality traits, with the jolly bear airplane captain giving a hearty embrace, and the porcupine truck driver doing the job with prickly reluctance. In a world increasingly reliant on cyber communication, this story may rapidly lose its relevance. For the time being, though, it's ideal for revving up kids' enthusiasm for post-office field trips--and postal workers certainly deserve the good press. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2005 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this comical, sweet-natured picture book, a perky piglet named Owen finds an inventive way to send love long distance when he arranges to mail a "giant hug" cross-country to his granny. Not content to draw a picture of himself hugging Granny, Owen announces to his mother "I want to send a real hug. I'll give the mailman a hug and ask him to send it to Granny." Luckily, Owen finds a host of supportive if slightly incredulous postal personnel willing to help. From the local mail sorter Ms. Porter, a lamb, to the ursine pilot who flies the mail closer to its far-away destination, each employee provides a link in the hug-passing chain. And better yet, the delivery team gets a goodwill boost as each embraces the hugging spirit (one hug even precipitates a date). When Granny finally receives her special mail, she sends something equally interesting back to Owen. In her picture-book debut Horning serves up a cheerful and heartwarming scenario sure to capture the imagination of little ones and those who dote on them. Her kind, respectful animal characters have just the right touch of credibility, making this perfectly pleasant world seem possible. Gorbachev's (Silly and Sillier) ink-and-watercolor artwork charms, featuring a menagerie of friendly, helpful critters which sometimes suggest an enlarged version of Richard Scarry's Busytown. In an amusing scene, Gorbachev makes even a mail-truck-driving porcupine huggable. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-When Owen the pig decides to send a hug to his grandmother, a mere drawing of one just won't do. At the post office, he gives the clerk Granny's address along with an affectionate embrace. That hug is passed from postal employee to pilot to driver to mail deliverer as it travels cross-country, inadvertently bringing cheer and a little extra caring into the workers' lives. In the satisfying ending, Granny sends a kiss back to Owen by bussing her mail carrier. As readers follow the hug's progress, they learn about the path a letter takes and the individuals involved in getting it from sender to receiver. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are filled with warm colors. The expressions on the characters' faces put one in mind of Richard Scarry's artwork, although the animals here are much larger. While some of the more subtle reactions and embarrassment evinced by the huggers may pass right over children's heads, the reactions of the recipients will delight them. Pair this slightly wordy tale with Don Carter's Send It! (Millbrook, 2003) and Gail Gibbons's The Post Office Book (HarperCollins, 1982) for sprightly glimpses into the mail and how it moves.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.