Mush-Free Zone: Zero Kisses for Me by Manuela Munari
MAMA, I DON'T WANT GOODNIGHT KISSES TONIGHT. I AM TOO BIG FOR KISSES.
ZERO KISSES FOR ME! BLEAH!
A young bear issues his anti-mush manifesto. He's sick of sloppy, sweetsy smooches from the whole family. He's over being everyone's "Tootsy-Wootsy," "Huggy-Bear," and "Kissy-Snooks."
Mama doesn't overreact. She points out that she likes giving kisses, specially at bedtime, and laments that she guesses she'll have to be content with giving his stuffed bunny big busses, demonstrating with a loud smack. But our young protester is adamant. His person is hereinafter a kiss-free zone!
Then comes bedtime. It's too quiet in there. It's dark in there. Something is missing--that special something that has always kept the bedtime bad guys at bay before.
In Manuela Munari's Zero Kisses for Me (Tundra Books, 2010), Virginia Soumagnac's charming illustrations, done in cartoon-style thick black line and bright reds, pinks, and greens, comically portray the righteous indignation of the youngster who is taking his first steps into independence. An especially effective illustrative device is her personification of those unwanted kisses as bright red hearts with floppy lips or stripped socks. This is a story of a poignant moment in childhood, a natural and necessary one, and this sweet little bedtime book strikes a happy compromise between too many kisses and just the right ones.