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‘Hugman’: A Little Red Man Made of Bricks

The Adventures of Hugman Banner

Sometimes we get review copies of books that are not comics but probably of interest to comics readers. Here’s a look at a set of books that came over the transom recently.

The Adventures of HugmanThe Adventures of Hugman
Hugman Goes to the Museum
Hugman and the Animals
Hugman Makes a Friend

By Nathan Sawaya and Maarten Lenoir
Hugman Books; $14.99 each
Ages 2-5

Nathan Sawaya is an artist who makes life-size sculptures out of Lego, and a few years ago he started making little men out of Lego and positioning them around New York City, hugging trees and signposts and such. This was the genesis of Hugman, the little red character that accompanies the little boy Nathan in these cheery self-published picture books.

The first book is Hugman’s origin story: Nathan creates a little red man from his bricks (the term “Lego” is not used in the story, although it is in the frontmatter) and names him Human. The little man is sentient from the start, and soon he and Nathan are having all sorts of fun. Then Human runs away to the big city and goes around asking various objects if they want a hug. This doesn’t end well: A crow breaks off his arm. Fortunately, a friendly dog brings him back to Nathan, who fixes his arm and renames him Hugman. The titles of the other books are pretty self-explanatory.

These books have a cozy feel to them. If Hugman’s desire to hug everything seems a little weird, well, it’s countered by his charm and that of the other characters. The writing is simple, with plenty of repetition, and the dialogue is set off in a larger typeface. The art is colorful and just detailed enough for a young reader to grasp the page all at once.

This quartet of books is gentle and perfect for reading aloud, especially as young readers can have fun spotting Hugman on each page.

Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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