While it’s certainly true that kisses make most things better, most kids don’t need yet another book, no matter how sweet,...

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KISS IT BETTER

This book extols all the wondrous things that kisses can make better.

From boo-boos and bruises to just feeling down, kisses can fix it all. And “did you know, kisses can actually speak?” There are “I’m-sorry” kisses to make amends and ask, “Can we be friends?” and there are all kinds that make the first-day-of-school morning easier: “cheer-up,” “be-brave,” and “see-you-soon” kisses. “A go-to-sleep kiss shouts out, ‘MONSTERS, SHOO!’ ” There are smooches for thunderstorms and busses for those who are sick, and no matter how old or young, tall or small, the supply of kisses will never run out…nor does the need for them. Though the words sometimes seem chosen less for their meaning than for their rhyme, the rhythm will only occasionally cause readers to stumble. Massini’s digital mixed-media and collage illustrations use vignettes, full-page, and double-page pictures to depict a bear family—mother, father, sister, brother (relying on clothing and accessories to denote gender)—and use a light palette and lots of hearts to convey the sweet message. And yet, it all seems to be something of a statement of the obvious.

While it’s certainly true that kisses make most things better, most kids don’t need yet another book, no matter how sweet, to tell them so. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-149-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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