Following up her New York Timesbestselling picture book The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn teams up with illustrator Barbara Leonard Gibson to tell the sweet-natured tale of Chester Raccoon, an older brother who wonders if there are enough kisses to go around between him and his sibling. When Chester expresses frustration with little Ronny, Mrs. Raccoon reassures him with kind words and a Kissing Hand. This tides Chester over until he spots Mama giving Ronny a Kissing Hand, too, and the bewildered raccoon wonders if Mama still loves him at all. But with more tender parenting and a special gift for just him, Chester learns that Mama's love is truly never ending. With Gibson's lush artwork bringing to life the adorable Raccoon family and their green-and-yellow-hued forest, Penn offers a reassuring ode to a parent's love that will give any child ample doses of comfort. This read, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is sure to be a welcome addition to before-bed reading or parent-child sharing times.
When Chester the raccoon was introduced to readers in The Kissing Hand, he was wrestling with the difficult transition of starting school. In this sequel, Chester has another hurdle to overcome: sibling rivalry. It's bad enough that his new brother Ronny is a pest ("He pulls my tail and talks to my friends and follows me everywhere I go!" Chester complains). But the hero is thrown for a loop when he sees Mrs. Raccoon giving Ronny a Kissing Hand-a smooch in the middle of her child's palm, which, as in the first book, sends "the warmth of that kiss [rushing] from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart"-previously reserved just for Chester. "How come you gave the baby my Kissing Hand?" Chester wails. But with his mother's patient reassurance and an analogy borrowed from nature (there will always be enough love to go around, just as the sun never runs out of light), he begins to believe she won't run out. There are certainly more bracing-and less obvious-treatments of this subject. But as the many fans of the original book proved, Penn understands the powerful pull of old-fashioned sentiment; and Gibson's illustrations, more understated than that of the artists' work in the first book, balances the sentimental message with her realistic renderings of nature. The flowery, poignant prose and meticulously detailed, benevolent-looking forest settings seem to spring straight from the heart. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this sequel to the bestseller The Kissing Hand, the author pens another tale of love and assurance. Chester Raccoon asks his mother whether they can give back his new little brother, who plays with his toys, teases him, and follows him endlessly. In response his mother says he needs a "Kissing Hand;" she spreads Chester's fingers into a fan and kisses "him right in the middle of his palm." Reassured at first, Chester is heartbroken when he sees his mother give a Kissing Hand to his little brother. His mother hugs Chester and says she'll never run out of Kissing Hands. Then, to make him feel special again, she gives him another kiss for his pocket, this one a spare for when a big brother might need a "little extra care." The words and text convey coziness and loving warmth of the raccoon family. Published by the Child Welfare League of America as part of its commitment to promoting the well being of children and their families, this book is a good choice for a family expecting a new arrival. While its message is obvious, it should bring comfort for a child worried over his place in the family. 2004, Child Welfare League of America, Ages 4 to 8.
Valerie O. Patterson