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The Snuggly

by Glen Huser; Milan Pavlovic (ill.)

In the world of children’s literature, a debate persists: should stories be written to teach a lesson or simply to entertain? While some flock to books with sobering or inspiring instruction, others find these tomes boring and the didacticism burdensome to the plot. The Snuggly by Glen Huser is a tale that succeeds at pleasing both audiences.

It is a big day at Todd’s house. His parents have brought home baby Ada, but something else catches Todd’s attention: the strange contraption hanging off his father’s chest. What is that cushy pouch? His father tells him it’s a snuggly. It keeps things close and safe, specifically babies. It’s not long before Todd convinces his parents to let him take the snuggly to school to show his friends.

With stuffed toy Banjo Bear tucked in the snuggly, Todd plans for an exciting day. It turns out he’s not the only one enthralled by the mysterious item. His classmates start asking to store their belongings in it as well. Todd sees no reason why not – at first. But soon the snuggly is at capacity and the requests keep coming. How much more can it hold before it bursts? A mug proves to be one item too many and all the contents go flying. A defeated Todd heads home having learned a simple lesson: a snuggly is good for holding one thing – a baby.

Like the story, the illustrations are simple yet poignant. Replete with a vivid colour palette, illustrator Milan Pavlovic’s images stand out against a white background. The Snuggly comes together tastefully, without heavy-handed moralism. For those seeking a lesson, there’s one included, having to do with when to say no. But it can just as easily be ignored when enjoying this humorous tale.