Nobody Hugs A Cactus (Carter Goodrich)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Nobody Hugs A Cactus by Carter Goodrich, a delightful and gorgeous tale of a very cranky little cactus.

Hank the cactus lives alone in his pot in the windowsill, just the way he likes it. His view never changes: it’s dry and hot and dusty and quiet, just the way he likes it. Unfortunately, the third thing on his wishlist – to be left alone – is the only thing missing. All day long, all manner of creatures pass by or through his yard, often calling out in greeting; Hank always responds with silence or a few grumpy words of dismissal or chastisement. But when a passing cowboy comments that Hank could use a hug, but “nobody hugs a cactus”, the prickly protagonist gives pause. Passive-aggressively mentioning hugs to next few creatures that come near, Hank finds that the cowboy was right – no one wants to hug him. That is until a familiar face performs an unexpected act of kindness, and Hank decides that perhaps the best way to earn affection is to offer it first.

Adorable. Goodrich is a celebrated illustrator and animator as well as author, and his sense of environment, tone, and character design is impeccable here; from the first page, the reader falls in love with the cantankerous cactus (honestly, I was giggling over his expression the minute I saw the cover). The story is tight, knowing exactly when to use dialogue and when to let the gorgeous, rich, and slightly surreal desert-inspired illustrations do the talking (the almost Steadman-esque cowboy and coyote were particular favorites of mine; JJ adored Rosie the Tumbleweed). And the ultimate message, that the kindness we receive must begin with the kindness we give, is classic and universal. The length is great, and we loved this one – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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