#1054 – Fluffy Hugs by Richard Dodd

cover Fluffy Hugs
Series: Fluffy the Magic Penguin, Book 1
Written by Richard Dodd
Illustrated by Christopher Norman
Upbury Press  12/13/2015
56 pages    Ages 7—9

“Fluffy is a penguin different to every other. He is on a mission. After his parents are taken to the wild, Fluffy sets off on a dramatic adventure to help anyone he can. Fluffy hugs those who are alone or sad and meets many interesting characters on his journey. Including Father Christmas, who says he can get Fluffy back home. This is the first book in the Fluffy the Magic Penguin series.” [BACK COVER]

The Story (195)
Fluffy is a small penguin born to “two of the biggest emperor penguins.” Despite being unusually small, Fluffy finds he has a big heart—and a bit of magic in him. When he learns the zoo will be relocating his parents to the wild, Fluffy decides it is time for his own adventure. He wants to go out and help people, wherever they may need help. Before he takes off, Fluffy helps a lonely little boy shivering in an oversized coat, a kangaroo stuck in a tree, and a cat named Ringo (“’Strange name for a cat!’ Fluffy thought to himself, unaware of the famous drummer after whom the cat had been named.”)
Fluffy final leaves the zoo to help a small injured bird holding tight to the side of the Eiffel Tower, as a bulldog menaces him. Three days before Christmas, he hears the cries of a young girl. Her father is trapped inside a lighthouse and cannot get out. Turns out the man trapped is someone special. He tricked Fluffy so he could take the little penguin to his parents for the holiday. “‘Your turn to be surprised young Fluffy’ he said kindly.”

Review (459)
Fluffy is a cute character with a lot of potential. Kids will like him and his story. Fluffy travels anywhere simply by thinking of where he wants to go. Best of all, Fluffy loves to give hugs and those hugs are magical. They can cure any ill, aide any hurt, and rescue anyone stranded. Fluffy is a super-penguin. I like this character. Unfortunately, this super-hero is stuck in a simple, mostly told not shown story lacking any conflict. Fluffy never doubts his brand-new abilities. He never makes a mistake and never runs into any trouble. That’s darn good magic, when the new magical penguin masters it immediately and never has a miscue. All is smooth sailing and this makes for a dull story.
picture-7What should be a big conflict—the zoo relocating his parents back into the wild—doesn’t affect Fluffy. He watches them go, then thinks about his own adventure. Not one tear cried. He never feels abandoned or lost. Eventually he misses his parents, but like other opportunities to build the story, it’s an opportunity lost. In this case, Father Christmas shows up to save the day. The protagonist should save the day, not a character which shows up in the last pages of the story.

I hope Fluffy Hugs gets a rewrite. I would love to see Fluffy spend time learning his magic with miscues along the way. So many hilarious off-the-wall goofs can happen. Add in the ruffle between father and son, maybe dad not likely this “magic business.” Can it be settled before his parents leave? Fluffy should be upset his parents are leaving and he is left behind—and so soon after his birth. Many kids know how this feels and could empathize with Fluffy. So many possibilities not taken. I don’t want to read about a penguin whose life is perfect or solved by a late entry character.
picture-9There are other minor problems with grammar and punctuation, including a dreadful overuse of the word, “that” (a mostly useless word). A good bit of editing could fix these problems and catch the those with the content. Two additional books have since been written, which I have not read. So whether Fluffy’s life has since become bumpy or continues to be smooth sailing, I cannot say. To be fair, Fluffy Hugs is the author’s first children’s release and maybe his first published book. It is difficult to be author, editor, book designer, publisher, marketer . . . It’s difficult to wear so many hats.

I like the character Fluffy and think kids will as well. Possessing magical hugs is actually pretty cool. Who wouldn’t want such an ability?! Cheers to Fluffy! May he have a vivid future ahead of him.

FLUFFY HUGS (FLUFFY THE MAGIC PENGUIN, BOOK 1). Text copyright © 2015 by Richard Dodd. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christopher Norman. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Upbury Press.

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Add Fluffy Hugs to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Fluffy the Magic Penguin Series
Book 2: Minty Visits
Book 3: Santa’s Gift

Reprinted with permission from FLUFFY HUGS (FLUFFY THE MAGIC PENGUIN, BOOK 1) © 2015 by Richard Dodd, Upbury Press. Illustrations © 2015 by Christopher Norman.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Fluffy Hugs
Series: Fluffy the Magic Penguin, Book 1
Written by Richard Dodd
Illustrated by Christopher Norman
Upbury Press 12/13/2015


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