The Kissing Hand and A Pocket of Kisses , Chester the raccoon overcomes the traumas of going off to school for the first ti"/>

A Kiss Goodbye

Audrey Penn, Author, Barbara Leonard Gibson, Illustrator , illus. by Barbara L. Gibson. Tanglewood $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-933718-04-0

In The Kissing Hand and A Pocket of Kisses , Chester the raccoon overcomes the traumas of going off to school for the first time and adjusting to a new brother. Here he faces a move, since the tree that is home to him, his mother and brother Ronny is being cut down. In rather overstated prose, his mother addresses Chester’s reluctance to leave their beloved hollow: “ 'I understand how you feel,’ she told him in an understanding, motherly voice, 'but I’m afraid we all have to move.’ ” After the stubborn youngster questions what would happen if he refused to move, his parent cajolingly asks, “Aren’t you afraid you’d miss us?” Chester wryly responds, “I’d miss you.... I’m not so sure about Ronny.” Penn and Gibson resurrect their earlier books’ popular power-of-the-palm-kiss motif as Chester, in a departing gesture, places “a gentle kiss on his palm and pushed it against the wall,” while the accompanying illustration reveals glowing red hearts emanating from his paw. Not surprisingly, the skeptical animal finds a new friend immediately after moving into his new hollow and, scooting off to play with her, sends his mother a heart-projecting palm kiss and announces, “All right... I’ll stay.” Featuring a palette that varies considerably as the tale’s scenarios move between day and night, Gibson’s sharply focused art effectively conveys Chester’s changeable moods. Its sometimes treacly tone notwithstanding, this tale, like its predecessors, should provide reassurance to kids facing a similar transition, as well as a useful starting point for adult-child dialogue. Ages 3-8. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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