The Best Kind of Kiss, by Margaret Allum, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
(2010, Walker & Company)
Happy Valentine’s Day! As a mother of two small children and a former teacher of multiple largish ones (the fifth grade kind), I appreciate a kids’ book about love that doesn’t go all precociously romantic on the reader. This book is a perfect example of a book about love and kisses that is written for preschoolers about the kind of affection that they can really understand, so I consider it a great book to share with a little one on a day dedicated to love!
“I like kisses.” So says the little narrator girl on the very first page as she puckers up toward the reader. She goes on to list all the different kinds of kisses that she likes, from big (presumably one from King Kong) to small (from a ladybug) and all kinds of other unusual adjectives and unusual kiss recipients (including snowflakes). She gives kisses to say she’s sorry, to say good-bye, and to say hello, and she loves kisses from all her family members, too! She must be a daddy’s girl, though, because her favorite kind of kiss is a “great big bristly-growly-daddy kiss!”–just like GirlChild!
The illustrations are done in “pencil, ink, and wash with further digital enhancement”–whatever that means! They show the narrator–a very small, red-haired girl in a spotted yellow sundress–from a variety of perspectives and poses (all puckering up, though!). She climbs a ladder to kiss a huge tulip, rows a boat out to kiss a dolphin, and summits a snowman to kiss a snowflake. She snuggles with her mother and throws herself into the arms of her father. Every page is fully of happy yellows and kisses. This is another illustrator whose work I would hang in my daughter’s room as whimsical art: cute and sweet and just the right balance of sketchiness and detail to make it seem both elegant and innocent. I would definitely recommend this as a good family snuggle time read with a preschooler or kindergartener!
GirlChild’s Reactions: GirlChild says, “I like all those kinds of kisses. Except doggy kisses. I like them less than I like people kisses.” So, apparently, she is fond of gorilla kisses and the like, but doggy kisses rank pretty low. 🙂