May I hug you? by Oleta Blunt and Katherine Appleby

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May I Hug You?, written by Oleta Blunt and illustrated by Katherine Appleby, is completely engaging and cleverly educational; making complex emotional concepts accessible to children.

Young puppy, Basil, has moved into a new home with a little girl named Isla. As he adjusts to his new surroundings, both he and Isla learn valuable lessons about understanding and respecting each other's feelings, navigating friendships, and the importance of consent in physical affection. 

Basil is feeling some uncertain emotions as he settles into his new environment. Through his experiences, young readers are introduced to the concept of empathy and the significance of recognizing and respecting personal boundaries. Isla, on the other hand, is excited and she is learning about patience and the importance of building trust and understanding.

Appleby’s artwork delightfully complements the text. The vibrant and colourful illustrations capture the attention of the audience and provides a visually stimulating experience that enhances the story’s emotional depth. The simplicity and brightness of the illustrations make the book appealing and approachable, drawing readers into Basil and Isla’s world.

May I Hug You? is more than just a charming tale of a puppy and a little girl. It’s a thoughtful resource for teaching children crucial social skills, such as listening to others, reading body language, and seeking permission before initiating physical contact. This beautifully crafted picture book is a valuable addition to any child’s library, offering lessons that are essential for developing healthy and respectful relationships.

Themes: Empathy, Friendship, Relationship building, Trust, Respect.

Michelle O'Connell