BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, June 18, 2021

No Smooches!! Rissy No Kisses by Katey Howe


"THE NESTLINGS ARE JUST DARLING," SAID MISS BLUEBIRD. "THEY LIKE ME!"

Miss Bluebird planted two big, fat smackeroos on two of the three little ones.

"NO KISSIES!" RISSY CHIRRUPTED.

Miss Robin opines that Rissy is confused. Papa insists that all lovebirds love kisses, but Rissy still doesn't want one, not even from him. Her parents think she might be sick. And when Rissy refuses her kiss,  Grandmother tried to unruffle everyone's feathers with a little peck on the cheek for Rissy, and when Rissy repeats her denial, she suggests that Rissy is just RUDE.

At nursery school, the little lovebirds sitting on each side of her on the storytime rug are sweet and affectionate, but Rissy just repeats herself.

"NO KISSIES!!"

Rissy's classmates' feelings are hurt. They make a scene and say Rissy is mean! Rissy feels terrible. Is it possible that she's not really a lovebird?

It's time for a little talk with Mama. Rissy explains that kissing just makes her tummy feel funny. But Mama explains that it is okay if she doesn't like kissing, but she can still hug her friends and hold their wings and play together and show them that she likes them.

"YOU'RE A LOVEBIRD THROUGH AND THROUGH"

Lots of youngsters shy away from kissy-kissy adults, and little Rissy is a good spokesbird for kids who just don't go for smooching from relatives and strangers, in Katey Howe's sweet and sympathetic new picture book, Rissy No Kissies (Carolrhoda Books, 2021). Her book offers understanding for kids and adults in respecting personal preferences and feelings in two separate author's notes, one for children and one for adults, in dealing with the important issue of "bodily autonomy," how to say "NO," how to ask if hugging or kissing is all right, and how to respect choices from the very young. This is a sensitive read-aloud for school groups and for parent-to-child reading--especially before big family-and-friends gatherings.

In its starred review, Kirkus Review says, "This is an artistic gem for consent discussions, sensory-processing contexts, and anyone who champions children's agency and bodily autonomy. Radiant."

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