Cybils Fiction Picture Book Status
Grandpa Green: Lane Smith

The Best Kind of Kiss: Margaret Allum

Book: The Best Kind of Kiss
Author: Margaret Allum
Illustrator: Jonathan Bentley
Pages: 24
Age Range: 2-6

51Do0Hk8ymL._SL500_AA300_The Best Kind of Kiss is a brand new picture book written by Margaret Allum and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley, due out in just a few days. It's not a 2011 Cybils nominee (since it missed the October 15th deadline). But it is a book that I'm enjoying reading aloud with 20-month-old Baby Bookworm.

The Best Kind of Kiss is a simple book aimed at preschoolers. A little red-headed girl proclaims her love for kisses. She runs through all of the general kinds of kisses that she likes (including the "smoochy, lip-smacky" sort of kisses), and then moves on to the various people and things that she enjoys kissing. Like:

"dandelions for a whispery kiss,
and snowflakes for a frosty kiss."

Me, I'm kind of partial to the idea of the "snuggly-cuddly-mommy kiss". But that one isn't quite "the best kind of kiss." Can you guess? Who does a four-year-old girl love to kiss more than Mommy? I can't call it unrealistic.

Allum's text is warm without being excessively sappy. (Consider the "smelly-yelly-brother kiss".) She uses playful language, like "waggly", but no words that are likely to trip kids up, and just enough description to bring things to life for young listeners. 

Bentley's pencil, ink, and wash illustrations stick to the yellow/orange palette seen on the cover. He has a knack for adding surprising images that I think will delight young readers. Like the little girl up on a stepladder kissing oversized flowers, or a picture of a lion when the text just says that she kisses the cat. As befitting a young target audience, most of the illustrations aren't particularly detailed. But they all carry a sense of joy and discovery. The illustrations are a nice pairing with the text, supporting the cozy tone, but adding humor.

The Best Kind of Kiss would make a fun read-aloud for a preschool storytime, I think. And it's a lovely, snuggly, book for reading at home with your favorite preschooler. Recommended for home and library use.

Publisher: Walker Children's Books (@BWKids)
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).