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A KISS MEANS I LOVE YOU by Kathryn Madeline Allen


by Kathryn Madeline Allen & photographed by Eric Futran

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8075-4186-9
Publisher: Whitman

Color photographs of children expressing different emotions and enacting certain situations introduce the idea of “reading” body language to the youngest children.

Humans communicate wants, needs and emotions through facial expressions and body language as well as orally. The book promotes the ability to decipher them as a critical skill for children to develop as they explore and have contact with a wide group of individuals. Through up-close photographs and rhyming text, tots see a multicultural cast of children their age smiling, laughing, pouting and expressing anger. One boy extends a toy as an invitation to share; another, finger to lips, requests quiet, illustrating the nuances of a gesture or hand motion. One odd omission is an example of the basic feeling of fear. Some entries are more successful than others, and this reflects the medium: It is difficult to represent shivering, for example, in a still photograph. The rhyme encourages page-turns (“A kiss means I love you, / a wave means hello, / a smile means I’m happy, / a tug means let’s go!”), although it stutters at one point and will require practice before reading aloud.

Despite small flaws, the book is a solid introduction to a range of human expressions and the concept of nonverbal communication. (Picture book. 2-5)