In this illustrated children’s book, a little girl going to sleep waits for her father’s kisses and hugs to arrive from far away.
As in many families, little Gabby Ann’s father works very far away much of the time, but she knows that every night he will send her hugs and kisses. Friendly looking letters sing, “We’re Xs and Os, sent for the night. / We’re kisses and hugs, to help Gabby sleep tight.” Of course, her mother kisses her goodnight, too, but Gabby misses her daddy. One night, she has trouble sleeping, wondering when her father’s hugs and kisses will arrive. Her mother tells her that “The sooner you sleep, the faster they’ll get here.” As Gabby tries to sleep, her father’s X’s and O’s go on a long journey: dancing on the wind, meeting kind animals all over the world, and getting rides from some, including a monkey, giraffe, dolphin, and pelican. When Gabby pops up from bed to ask her mother why daddy’s kisses and hugs are taking so long, she’s reminded to have patience. Sure enough, the X’s and O’s eventually catch a ride with the family dog, who delivers them to Gabby, and she sleeps tight, secure in her father’s love. In her debut book, Özbay tells a sweet and simple story that makes good use of repetition to engage youngsters. The animals in their varied habitats are reassuringly ready to help, and Motz’s colorful, animated illustrations of happy-looking creatures also provide appeal. It’s a bit puzzling, though, that the hugs and kisses are presented as something to help Gabby sleep but will only ever arrive after she’s already fallen asleep—a parental trick that children may or may not see through. Another minor quibble: emus are included with African animals; they’re from Australia.
A bright, lighthearted, and comforting book for children
missing a faraway parent.