Sometimes, we all need a hug – whether it's a grazed knee, a popped balloon, a dropped ice-cream, or those times when you're one and you just can't keep pace with your big three-and-a-half-year-old sister.
Picturebooks can be a great source of comfort, and we've featured many reassuring classics on this site. Our first review ever, 'I Love You Night and Day', was one of the first we read to our elder daughter when she was a newborn.
It remains a family favourite, joined now by two more by the same author, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, who's gentle ryhmes and soothing words are like a soft blanket fresh from the tumble dryer.
'I'll Never Let You Go' is in a way the sequel to 'I Love You Night and Day', beautifully delivered by the same author/illustrator partnership (with pictures by Alison Brown).
It features pairs of animals and birds (probably a parent and child but could also be siblings) experiencing life together. Most of the images are set against an autumnal backdrop, making this an ideal choice this month as the leaves start turning brown.
It begins with a scene of joy: “When you are happy, I hear you sing...you swoop and you soar, you LOVE everything”. From here the book addresses a range of other emotions, including sadness, excitement, uncertainty and fear, before concluding: “When you are high and when you are low, I'll be holding you tight and I'll never let go”.
In every scene the overarching themes of support, comfort and love are depicted in sweet, colourful yet calm acrylic and pencil illustrations.
The final spread is a lovely scene of all the pairs of creatures together, watching a firework display in the moonlight.
'Kiss It Better' (also by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated wonderfully through mixed media and a charming use of collage by Sarah Massini) is also a 'snuggle up with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate' kind-of-a-book.
Starting on its inside pages with a double page of whispy pink and white hearts, which go on to flow throughout the book, we join a family of bears whose scrapes and bumps mean they need lots of kisses.
We find out that there is a kiss for every occasion, accompanied in each case by a lovely image: “An I'm sorry kiss helps make amends. It whispers softly, “Can we be friends?””
While: “A see-you-soon-kiss says, “Ill miss you, too” and a go-to-sleep kiss shouts out, “MONSTERS, SHOO!””
A scene of the bear family's extended relations and friends, picnicking under a tree adorned by heart bunting to welcome a new cub, is one of our favourites. We also love the one of daddy bear returning home from work to their cave home to be greeted by his two little ones (which is the best bit of my day, too!).
'I'll Never Let You Go' by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Alison Brown, and 'Kiss It Better' by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Sarah Massini, are both published by Bloomsbury Children's Books.