Debut author Bajaj celebrates a bedtime ritual set in the animal world-with each succeeding species asking for one more goodnight kiss than its predecessor. The first stop is a bear's den bathed in golden light. Here, as in the other watercolor spreads, Bates (Just You and Me) places readers in the thick of the action. A cub gleefully snuggles against his supersize ursine father. " `How many kisses do you want tonight?'/ Daddy Bear growls, cuddling Little Bear tight./ `I want one,' laughs Little Bear,/ `A big, loud kiss on my soft, brown hair.' " A few habitats later, readers find themselves at the edge of a filmy spider web that's strung between two branches against a starry sky. " `I want eight,' he [the spider offspring] says with a giggle,/ `One on each leg-I'll try not to wiggle.' " Bates portrays animals as expressive as any human parent and child. But he also balances this anthropomorphism with authentic details of character and environment. In the spider spread, for instance, he articulates the hair on the insects' legs and other distinctive markings; rather than make the web tidy and symmetrical, he renders it as a roughhewn structure and emphasizes the industry and craftsmanship behind it. The animal portraits are so vibrant that when the book does visit the human world in the final two spreads, the familiarity of the characters is almost a letdown. But that's a minor quibble in a book that deserves a hearty embrace. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Here is a book whose title asks a great question. Brilliantly, the author places kissing in the context of counting and rhyming your way to a peaceful sleep. "How many kisses do you want tonight?"/Daddy Bear growls, cuddling Little Bear tight?/I want ONE," laughs Little Bear,/"A big, loud kiss on my soft, brown hair." And so the book goes, as a host of comforting mom and dad animals repeat this lovely question and get a delighted response from their offspring. This book gives all the comforts young children seek: a refrain, rhythm and rhyme, animals to identify, counting. It varies from mommies to daddies and ends on a high note when a daddy asks "How many kisses do you want, princess pink?" This book may inspire some kissing! 2004, Little Brown, Ages 1 to 3.
PreS-Another delightful bedtime story in the vein of Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick, 1995). A succession of animal moms and dads asks their babies how many kisses they want, and the youngsters' responses count upward from Little Bear's one kiss on his "soft, brown hair" to Little Bunny's 10 kisses on his "floppy ears and- eyes." A little girl and boy round out the tale, asking for a hundred and a million smooches, respectively. The rhyming text maintains a gentle flow, but the real attraction here is the beautiful watercolor and colored-pencil artwork, which is full of vibrant, night-hued colors that bring the animals and their expressions to life. This book is sure to be an instant sleepy-time favorite.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Animal and human babies get smoochies in a saccharine, but snuggly, tucking-in rhyme. "How many kisses do you want tonight?" asks each animal parent as it cuddles with its baby. Little Bear asks for one, Little Duck asks for two, Little Cat for three, and so on. Little Girl "princess pink" asks her daddy for a hundred kisses, and Little Boy "brave knight" asks his mommy for a million. Sweet, softly colored watercolors set off each loving pair of parent and child in cozy bedtime scenes. Even giggly Little Spider (who gets eight kisses, one for each leg) is awfully lovable. Cutesy, but a good bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-4)