Meet Doug. Doug is a slug, who needs a hug. We can all identify with that right now. Emerging from a discarded ice-cream carton, stickily and a little mucky around the chops, but with an endearing smile, Doug is surely irresistible. Apparently not. No-one wants to give him a hug, not the ant, caterpillar, worm or spider. On plods Doug, alone. And then he meets Gail, a snail, also icky, mucky, yucky and sticky. Surely they’ll make a perfect couple. But that’s not how love works and there’s simply no spark between this slimy pair. Just as it seems Doug will never get his hug, love comes flying by, as it so often does. After the emotional rollercoaster of the story, readers are left with the gorgeous, happy image of a slug in love.
Told with extraordinary economy, every line, word and image delivers feeling and intent, and simple as it seems, there’s real emotional depth to the story. Doug’s despair at ever finding love is echoed in a rainy landscape, flowers drooping, and it’s heartbreaking, while the scene in which Doug and Gail realise they are not meant to be is brilliantly, wordlessly explained, the turn of a page changing everything. Superb.