This is a beautiful set of children’s books that have been written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Barber Gibson, Ruth Harper and Nancy Leak that I received from NetGalley to review. Each book is 32 pages long and full of colour. There is a special message in each story about love, friendship and security. I don’t have children, but when I do these will be books I will want to read to them!
Book 1: The Kissing Hand
School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called The Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Chester Racoon does not want to go to school – he would much prefer to stay home and play. His mother won’t let him however, but she does give him a small gify – a kiss in his hand. Whenever he feels sad, he just needs to remember that gift.
I thought this idea was wonderful. This portrays love and security to a small child – or racoon – who is scared of something. The story is so well written – simple, yet effective. Chester’s mother is soothing yet firm. She explains all the fun things that Chester will do and how she will be there at the end of the day.
This book is written for children who have to face hard times – a new challenge – and it brings comfort and hope. This is well written and even as an adult it brought a smile to my face. It is a lovely concept and a well written and presented book.
Book 2: A Pocket Full of Kisses
In this tender sequel to the New York Times bestseller and children’s classic The Kissing Hand,Audrey Penn provides parents with another tale of love and reassurance to share with their children. Chester Raccoon has a baby brother-and thebaby brother is taking over his territory. When Chester sees his mothergive his baby brother a Kissing Hand-his Kissing Hand-he is overcome with sadness, but Mrs. Raccoon soothes his fears with her own special brand of wisdom, finding just the right way to let Chester know he is deeply loved. Brought to life by Barbara Leonard Gibson’s warm illustrations, this story is perfect for families who are adjusting to all the changes new members can bring.
In this book, Chester has a baby brother. He feels his brother is taking over his life and that he is losing the love of his mother – especially when he sees her giving his a special kiss. His mother has to teach Chester that his brother is just as special as him and show that she loves him the same as before all at once in this book.
I imagine this to be a challenge for most parents – the adjustment for the oldest when a new family member comes along. I think again, Audrey Penn is delicate in how she writes about this issue for children. She is sensitive to their needs and acknowledges how they would be feeling, yet deals with it in a loving way – showing how parents can love both children the same.
Again, this book is full of illustrations and not full of text. The illustrations are gorgeous, and bring the book to life.
This is so well written and enjoyable. I think Penn deals with these issues well and I think small children everywhere will enjoy her books.
Book 3: A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Racoon
The sun is up, it’s time for little Chester Raccoon to go to bed, but he is frightened by the shadows the sun is creating on the walls. Mrs. Raccoon soothes him with a Kissing Hand, and he is able to go to sleep.
This sweet and decidedly unscary board book is both a light-hearted way to calm children’s fears at bedtime, along with a gentle introduction to Chester Raccoon and the Kissing Hand for the younger child. Funny illustrations will gentle the scary-looking shadows in a bedroom.
Growing up every child gets scared at night sometime or other. This is again addressed by Audrey Penn, as Chester is scared to go to sleep because of the scary shapes the shadows are making. But rest assured, his mother is there with some comforting words to help him get to sleep.
This book is shorter – only 16 pages and is intended for younger children. As ever, the illustrations through the book are spectacular. I did think that they would possibly upset a very small child – the pictures do include a bear and spiders, but the rest of the illustrations are gorgeous.
I like that this book is written in rhyhm. This just helped the story flow better and made it more engaging. It is cute and enjoyable.
The story is poignant to small children today and I think could help many as they realise there is nothing to fear. As an adult I have enjoyed these books, and believe children will too.
Watch out for more Audrey Penn and Chester Racoon reviews to come!