Graphic art using bold shapes and colorful silhouettes makes an admirable attempt to illustrate a kiss and show the many places throughout the United States that kisses can come from and travel to in this ephemeral title.
Gibson’s prose dances along the pages, encouraging readers to imagine the smells, sounds, textures and trajectories of kisses: “At any given moment, someone, somewhere, is blowing a kiss. / And somewhere, someone is catching it.” Van Lieshout does her best to create spreads that provide a visual context for the rather abstract concepts introduced in the text. Although a blown kiss is invisible, readers see airborne dandelion fluff in various sizes and colors float across each page, zigzagging through New York City traffic or, oddly, swirling by two affectionate deer in a wintry scene. Only some children but most adults will recognize the landmarks portrayed, including Times Square, Washington, D.C., St. Louis and New Orleans. A map at the end of the book helpfully shows the cities featured. This title can be used as a springboard for discussion about visualizing things that are quite real but unseen. While younger readers may balk at thinking of a kiss as something that can be hidden in a pocket or tucked in a book, most can relate to kisses that “SMACK! like bubblegum” or “whisper like butterflies.”
Overall, an elegant, ambitious effort. (Picture book. 4-8)