Hector and Hummingbird is a book that parents might be able to relate to more than their kids, but hopefully they can use it to teach their kids a lesson or two. Hector is a bear in the rainforests of Peru, and his friend Hummingbird sometimes annoys him with his constant talking, copying things that Hector does, and rarely letting Hector have a quiet moment to himself. (Parents of toddlers, does this sound familiar?)
Fed up, Hector goes off into the woods on his own, but he soon finds that he misses his old pal Hummingbird. When they reunite, Hector tries to communicate to Hummingbird why he was mad at him…but will it change anything? Unfortunately, at the end of the book it seems like things will be much the same, and Hummingbird will continue to annoy Hector, but at least Hector learned to speak up when something bothers him.
The art in the book has a fun, dynamic style. It only uses four or so colors, but somehow it feels like it has all the colors of the rainforest. Author and illustrator Nicholas John Frith has clearly done his research on the biodiversity of Peru: the depiction of the plants and animals seems realistic, but stylized just enough to make them interesting. In the back of the book is a guide to the wildlife of the jungle, so kids can go back through the book and identify the animals they see.
Hector and Hummingbird depicts a classic dilemma of an introvert/extrovert friendship. For those of us introverts who identify with Hector, the ending might give us a bit of sympathy irritation on Hector’s behalf. But if you discuss it with your kids, the book will spark conversations with them about whether they and their friends are more like Hector or Hummingbird, and how the Hummingbirds among them can better accommodate the Hectors.
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