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Huggapotamus, written by Steve Metzqer and illustrated by Gabriele Antonini, is about a young hippo who has so much love to give he can’t control his hugs.

My kids have never been big on hugs. However every once in awhile one of them will decide his brother, me, or my husband needs a hug. They don’t ask, they don’t pay attention to what we are doing at the time, and they definitely don’t care if the person they are trying to hug wants a hug at that time.

I am not saying that I don’t love when my kids want a hug, but there are times when hugs are ok and times when they are not. When I have a fresh poured cup of steaming hot coffee in my hand, charging at me to give me a hug is not be the best time. Or when your younger brother is trying to read and you sit on his lap and the book to give him a hug, not the best time.

Huggapotamus is a great way to help kids learn when and how to hug their friends or anyone. The book shares that hugs are ok as long as the other person wants a hug. Hugs are ok after the cup of coffee is set on the table or the book is put down.

Talking to your kids about when it is ok to hug someone, who it is ok to hug, who can hug them, and how strong or soft a hug should be is very important. Hugs are a way to show others we care about them but there is an appropriate time to hug.


  1. Draw a picture of you when you felt.
    • Excited like Huggapotamus.
    • Overwhelmed like the animals Huggapotamus hugged without permission.
    • Sad like Huggapotmas felt when no one wanted to play with him.
    • Happy like Huggapotamus did when the other animals gave him a hug.
    • Happy when you did something for someone.


Benefits of art activity:

  • Children get to reflect on different experiences where they needed a hug or where they didn’t want other close to them.
  • Children start to realize that others have feelings too.
  • Children can create an illustration to tell a story about their life.
  • Open up lines of communication between you and your child.


Outschool Story Time and Art

I am offering a story time and art club on Outschool.com. If you are interested in sharing stories and creating art with your children, check out my class here. I will read a new story each week and walk you through an art activity that goes along with that day’s book.