In short, Hugo, who is usually happy finds himself sad and wishing he were more like his handsome friend Manta and believes it would make people like him and he’d be happy again. Manta gives him several wishes to change whatever he would like to make him happy again. Using most of his wishes, he changes his appearance to look more like Manta. When he sees himself in the mirror, he realizes that he no longer looks like himself and doesn’t look like Manta either, so he uses his final wish to look like himself again.
The message of the story is that we need to be happy with ourselves – we were each made differently and that’s what makes us special. What I love about this book is the great visual that changing our appearance won’t make us look like ourselves or anyone we want to be and that we may not be happy with the outcome. I can’t imagine how hard it will be to teach my young daughter this message in character education, but I firmly believe that books like this one will give us a more “visual” understanding of why it’s good to be who we are.
As always, the vivid and expressive characters draw you in and make educational reading fun.
Though my daughter is too young to grasp the concepts in the books, she’s always captivated by the marine life in this beautiful underwater world and very often grabs one of the physical Hugo books for me to read because she loves the happy starfish character.
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