An important lesson on consent for over-exuberant little huggers, nestled inside this lighthearted, summery story about expressions of love and friendship.
Kai is a little mer-boy who’s big on hugs–or “squishes,” as he and his mama call them. But not everyone’s a fan of Kai’s spirited embrace, which he discovers soon after squishing a puffer fish, who swells up in fright! Kai feels awful; but with the help of his friends, he figures out another way to show his affection, and then everyone demonstrates their preferred ways of being greeted. Because, as Kai realizes, “Every fish likes their own kind of squish.”
Fun and useful. This book presents big ideas of consent, respect, and personal space in a way that is easy for even toddlers to understand. And it’s really cute! The setting–the world of mermaids, under the sea–is a big draw for my kids as well.
An important reminder for young ones (and adult readers) that some friends like to say hi in different ways. A great way to teach kids about their own bodily autonomy.