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Why is Hugh Blue?


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I love that this story encourages young readers to hold their heads up high, love themselves, and not be afraid to be you!

Most children's books have full-blown color images. Why is Hugh Blue? does not. Instead, the designer(s) uses the color pop technique. That's a digital effect in which a selected part of a scene or image is shown in color while the rest is in grey or a dull monochrome. At the book's start, Hugh, the shirt-wearing hippo, is the scene's focal point, so he's presented in bright blue color. The text, telling his tale, is highlighted in a lovely shade of red. Each color does POP on the page! As the story progress, readers will notice more and more objects are getting a splash of color. The page where Hugh and his lemonade glowed was especially exceptional. Parents and children will love the artistry and the storyline. 

In life, people have expectations of what they should do, or they should act. Hugh didn't behave like a "typical" hippo. While others like him wallowed in the mud, Hugh wrote poetry. Instead of chewing on the grass with the others, Hugh told stories through his paintings and entertained the skwackle birds with melodies strummed on his ukulele. 

Hugh embraced his uniqueness which gave others the bravery to embrace theirs. Readers will meet another animal in a shade of color they've never seen before, acting entirely out of the norm for their species. Together these two vibrant animals draw a crowd of animals where talents start to flourish, and the swamp goes from drab to explosive of color. 

Hugh is an inspiration to all readers. He demonstrates that it's okay to be different and you should celebrate your uniqueness. Stand proud and stand tall. 

We all come in different shapes and sizes, possessing talents or skills that make us different from the next person. I love that this story encourages young readers to hold their heads up high, love themselves, and not be afraid to be you! 

Small note: I had never heard of a "skwackle" bird. At first glance, I thought it was a misspelling. A quick internet search offered zero results. The name sounds fictional, though, so it may be. Real or imaginary, the images for them were cute as can be. 

This storybook was sensational from cover to cover. I recommend you share it with your 3-9-year-old.

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Hugh is blue because of his hue, and all the other hippos say, "Eew!" But Hugh enjoys his own hobbies and makes a new friend. Soon, the other hippos learn that it's fun to be different, too!

Through Hugh's story, children learn that being different is something to celebrate, not shun. They learn to accept themselves and others for who they are, regardless of their color, interests, or preferences. Watch as the illustrations progress from dull and faded colors to brighter and brighter hues as Hugh allows his own light to shine and helps others to do the same! Reading the story aloud to children will aide adults with discussions that help shape positive interactions with others, and children will fall in love with the adorable animals.

About the author

California natives Jennifer and Michael Rineman are a super team of collaborators, writing and illustrating engaging books for young people. The Rinemans also run Otterly Captivating Art, where they create art that is beautiful, fun, and creative, and print it on a variety of products. view profile

Published on June 30, 2023

0-1000 words

Genre: Picture Books

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