Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love.
Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed.
He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs.
But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely.
So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.
New Yorker cover artist and animated film character designer Goodrich (We Forgot Brock!) infuses humor and sweetness into the simplest of settings and the most unassuming of characters. Hank, a cactus who sits in a pottery bowl in the window of a boxy structure, loves the peace and quiet of his remote desert home, so his smile morphs into a comically exaggerated frown when friendly passers-by attempt to engage him. He ignores a cheerful tumbleweed, frightens a tortoise, and lashes out at a jackrabbit who offers a snide greeting ("Hiya, Prickles!"). But after he shoos away a lanky cowboy, who caustically retorts, "Seems to me, somebody needs a hug. Too bad nobody hugs a cactus," Hank has a change of heart and tries to solicit hugs initially unsuccessfully. Dominated by subtle earth tones true to its desert setting, spare yet emotive watercolor art reveals how the cactus, with a small act of kindness, disproves the book's title. In wryly understated words and pictures, Goodrich delivers a tale that is equally charming and droll and a smart pick for cranky kids. Ages 4 8.