No Kiss for Grandpa

by Harriet Ziefert, Illustrations by Emilie Boon

Orchard Books, June, 2001.
Picture Book, 32 pages.
ISBN: 0531303284
Ages Baby-Preschool

No Kiss for Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert No Kiss for Grandpa is the kind of book a parent needs to have on hand to help out a child who is feeling irritated with the daily constraints of fitting into the world he inhabits. After all, Louie is busy when his mother comes in and tells him that he has to get dressed because Grandpa is waiting. Then his mother asks Louie if he has a kiss for Grandpa. Irritated, Louie exclaims "No Kiss!" Grandpa suggests several activities, only to be answered in the negative by Louie. Grandpa patiently goes along with Louie's irritable mood, refusing to be drawn in to confrontation or the temptation to lecture. Finally Louie wants to go home and read a book and Grandpa complies. Reading calms everyone, and Louie is now in a happier mood. Grandpa reads two books and then says "No more books today. I have to meet Grandma at the store." Louie's mother now asks if Louie has a kiss for Grandpa and Louie is happy to comply.

There is a lesson for adults as well as one for children in this short, happy tale. There is a time when a young child feels frustrated in a world ruled by adults, and being negative gives a certain since of control and satisfaction . The wise adult resists the urge to be strict and moralistic. A little patience allows the young child to get over his temporary feelings of frustration, and this allows his more permanent feelings of affection to emerge. A child reading this story with a grownup will empathize with Louie, and will understand that angry feelings will go away and be replaced by happier, more loving emotions. A little story like No Kiss for Grandpa is an excellent prescription for a bout with bad feelings.

Illustrator Emilie Boon shows Louie as a little boy cat in a family of yellow striped cats. All children love cats, and most neighborhoods have a few yellow striped cats in residence. Ms. Boon's large, simple paintings of yellow striped cats against the largely blue background of the beach add emphasis to this simple tale of a young boy having an irritable afternoon. The knowledgeable expressions on both Louie's and Grandpa's faces do a great deal to add to the understanding of this little tale which is sure to be a hit.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the July, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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