Our two (and a half) year old recently discovered the delightful melodies of “Baby Shark” as performed by the Australian group Bounce Patrol, in multiple versions and complete with choreography, of course. Along with the adorable new dance moves, she’s been much more interested in anything with “fishies,” including books.
Can I Give You a Squish by Emily Neilson is an incredibly cute book about a little merboy and his fish friends. Kai is an enthusiastic hugger who loves to give squishes to his mama and to all of his underwater friends. After meeting a new little puffer fish though, he realizes not everyone likes hugs as much as he thought. With help from an octopus, a dolphin, and a crab, they all learn new ways of showing affection (and asking first), like fin bumps and tentacle shakes. The friends are all very encouraging and supportive of the scared puffer fish, and it’s a great way to start teaching young kids about boundaries and consent.
The illustrations in this book are lovely and it’s just a sweet story.
(She’s also really enjoying the Narwhal and Jelly books by Ben Clanton, if you need another good fishy book.)
With this squish book, I’ve been looking for some other picture books to start teaching or talking about consent/personal space:
- C is for Consent by Eleanor Morrison and Faye Orlove
- Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
- Will Ladybug Hug? by Hilary Leung
- Hands Off, Harry! by Rosemary Wells
Neilson, E. (2020) Can I Give You a Squish?