PreS-Gr 1—A clever play on words can only sustain a story for so long, and a weak one even less so. In this oh-so-sweet short rhyming tale, a girl digs a hole, then smooches the ground, literally planting a kiss. With her mostly patient care, this odd "seed" sprouts—a small fountain of pink and yellow dots and textured glitter. Other children gather to witness the unusual crop. In forced rhymes, they try to talk the girl out of distributing her harvest, but to no avail. Scooping up the swirling substance into an enormous red bowl, she travels the world, bestowing this odd gift on a diverse cast of children. Her diaphanous offering trails glitter throughout the pages until the bowl empties. She then returns to the "plant" and discovers that it's grown into a bright yellow entity, a source of "endless bliss." Though Reynolds's distinctive cartoonish illustrations are delightfully expressive, they fail to make up for the flat, strained story. Muddled messages about sharing and imaginative play detract from the plot and confuse readers. Lackluster, despite the glitter overload, and trying too hard to please, this book lacks the effortless charm of Rosenthal's Little Pea (Chronicle, 2005) or Reynolds's Ish (Candlewick, 2004). Libraries with the most devoted Rosenthal and Reynolds fans might want this for their collections; at best, it's an additional purchase for everyone else.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Rosenthal's and Reynolds's straightforward and gently humorous sensibilities are well matched in this story about love beyond the boundaries of parent and child.
—The New York Times Book Review
In what may be a first, Rosenthal and Reynolds demonstrate the benefits of sharing kisses far and wide—without showing a single person-to-person kiss. Rosenthal’s (Duck! Rabbit!) verse is stripped down to the bone, yet retains a singsong nursery rhyme quality, while Reynolds (Someday) illustrates in his signature lithe, clean-lined style. After “Little Miss planted a kiss”—she digs a hole and kisses the soil—the girl waters her planting and waits, at first patiently, and then with “doubt” and a “pout.” At last her kiss sprouts, and a swirling fountain of polka dots and glitter emerges. Carrying her shimmering kisses in a bowl, the girl shares them generously with others until her supply is depleted. She gets a lovely surprise when she returns to her garden and sees a geyser of kisses rising from the ground, more vivid and sparkly than ever. The punchy rhymes and abstract visualization of kisses keep things from feeling too heavy-handed or saccharine; Rosenthal and Reynolds’s collaboration should leave readers considering the rewards of simple gestures. Agent: Amy Rennert Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Pippin Properties. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"It goes like this. Little Miss planted a kiss." After the planting, with sun and water and waiting comes "Doubt." And "Pout." But finally, "Sprout! SHOUT! SHOUT!" Others gather around our Little Miss and the now growing, glittering plant. In succinct rhymes she declares that she will share, "everywhere!" And so she does, "To and fro. High and low." When her basket of glittering kisses is finally emptied, she returns to find that, "...from one little kiss...endless bliss!" The amusing tale includes a lesson on sharing for all young readers. The visual story is told with simplicity as well: sketchy colored drawings of children but mainly of Little Miss supplemented by her harvest of pink and yellow, embossed, glittering kisses. The very brief, hand lettered text is almost redundant because the illustrations so effectively communicate the message. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
What happens when a kiss is planted? Readers will be captivated as a young girl's seemingly silly act literally blossoms into a generous reward. Rosenthal (This Plus That, illustrated by Jen Corace, 2011) strips away all but the most essential words to share her story. Spare short phrases and one-word descriptors propel the action while leaving plenty of room for Reynolds, illustrating in a similar style found in The Dot (2003), to work his visual magic in a pale palette of mostly yellow, pink and gray. After providing sun, water and attention, the spunky heroine has moments of doubt. Her patience pays off when a sparkly object emerges from the soil. "Sprout! / SHOUT! SHOUT! // Gather about. // Wow! How? What now? / Stare and stare. // ‘I'll share!' she declared." The other children who come by strongly disagree: "Don't you dare! It's far too rare! It'll go bare!" But "(She didn't care.)" She collects a large amount of the sparkly stuff in her big red bowl and distributes it far and wide. When it is all gone, "she returned. There she learned…from one little kiss… // endless bliss!" Here Reynolds uses a golden wash with pink and iridescent dots to paint a most vigorous blooming swirly plant that spans the entirety of the final double-page spread. Sure to dazzle children, who will appreciate that a relatively small deed can lead to such magical results. (Picture book. 3-6)
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a New York Times bestselling author of books for children and grown-ups. Her children’s books include the Cookies series, illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer; Duck! Rabbit!, The OK Book, Yes Day!, and It’s Not Fair!, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; Spoon, illustrated by Scott Magoon; The Wonder Book, illustrated by Paul Schmid; and This Plus That, Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink, illustrated by Jen Corace. Her work for grown-ups includes the memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and the film project The Beckoning of Lovely. Amy lives online at whoisamy.com and for real in Chicago.