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Monday, September 27, 2010

Zero Kisses for Me, written by Manuela Monari and illustrated by Virginie Soumagnac. Tundra Books, 2010. $14.99 ages 3 and up

"I'm tired of being
everybody's tootsy-wootsy,
everybody's huggy-bear,
everybody's kissy-snooks.

You know from the very beginning, this little guy is a force to be reckoned with...and quickly.  He's got a mean streak going on, and he wants his mother to know it. He scowls while she offers up yet another smooch! On the title page, he carries a sign that suggests he has made up his mind about something very important....ZERO KISSES. His mother seems oblivious, but he is adamant. It is a problem for him that everyone wants to plant a kiss upon his person. He is tired of it, and he wants no more of it. As he wields his sign at the scrambling kisses (heartfelt and heart-shaped), we know he means business.

He's too big for this nonsense to continue. OK! Mom agrees to his demands and is seemingly content to kiss Bunny goodnight, and that's it! Bunny has no complaints. When sleep won't come, Mama is called and only kisses will scare away the fear of the dark. 'Bunches and bunches' of kisses later and all is well! No more fears...only peaceful slumber.

Doesn't everyone long for independence? Of course, we do. Honest and telling, this simple story brings that need to the forefront, while also allowing the young one to change his mind when he suffers anxiety over the decision made on his own. Its simple text will soon be part of a beginning reader's repertoire and they will long to share it with loved ones. The bold, expressive images created for the story will capture the attention of its intended audience and help with determining mood and drama when reading this charming tale.

Mama does have the final say...albeit, silent and subtle.

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