Storytime with Shantelle – Kisses
There are kisses and then there are kisses. Those dry as dust ones from Great Aunt Verna that are akin to flypaper being scraped over your skin or even the Boston Strangler’s smooches that feel like a dementor’s death grip. Peppermint flavoured kisses, bird like pecks, rolling in the sand in a ‘from here to eternity’ lip lock. Not to ruin the warm fuzzy I have just created but you can’t write about kisses without including a slight warning. Morally I am obligated to issue this health alert. Infectious mononucleosis, or mono, refers to a group of symptoms usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It typically occurs in teenagers, but you can get it at any age. The virus is spread through saliva, which is why some people call it “the kissing disease.” There is even a giant pink fluffy microbe you can buy online that looks like a mono cell. Its washable!! (for educational purposes only people- weirdos.)
All kisses have their place but the sweetest are those given by the very young. No artifice, no agenda, just affection. Of course, their usually wet, crumb infested, often jam smeared and nearly always a little to the left. My husband’s are the same and take it from me; you learn to love them. A child’s kiss is an ephemeral thing, lasting a very short time but golden. My three year old did hang on like the violoncello player from the Titanic but still, most children get in quick and get out quicker. No coincidence then that there seems to be a teeming multitude of children who refuse all kisses. (Note: this situation is different from all kisses being refused to you. Exclusivity cannot be confused with repulsiveness) These refusals have grown to epidemic proportions, so much so that books have been written about it. Books I tell you!
No More Kisses for Bernard by Niki Daly is a grim herald to all those would be kiss mongers. Bernard has been snaffled upon, smothered, canoodled and lip smacked. He has had enough!!!He goes into full revolt when the aunts descend on him in a land slide of love. (An avalanche of affection….. A tsunami of tenderness… sorry, couldn’t help myself) Boundaries are put in place and Bernard demands personal space. In the spirit of compromise, paper kisses are made and Bernard graciously accepts them. He does end up covered in glue and felt tip markers but it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make. I found this story a lovely testament to warm feelings and emotions but also a child’s right to ask for space and time to adjust to attention and affection. There is a lovely line of dialogue in the book that states’ When someone says no, they mean no,’ The pictures are cleverly drawn to compliment the story; bold and expressive with the repetitive use of certain colours allowing a continuity to the story.
As further proof that this kissing embargo is not merely a figment of my imagination, Julia Jarman’s Kisses are Yuk ! is another scathing indictment against this social injustice. Jack is an active boy. He loves to jump, kick, run and even save young Klaus from a burning house. He will not however be put upon. No kisses!!! A manly handshake is all he expects when he saves Brian from a lion and Sue from the lake. ‘Kisses were yucky, sucky and very unlucky.” (My contribution is kisses are slimy, grimy and you’d have to hog tie me) . Uncle Henry’s are hairy and Aunt Mary’s scary. The very best of course is Aunt Rhonda’s; she kissed like an anaconda. This very clever rhyming scheme adds to the hilarity of the book and also very large, brillant illustrations that capture the reader’s gaze and seem to burst from the page. (A profusion of splendour to thrill the book lender- apologies, couldn’t help myself). Kisses are Yuk is a very fun read and will definitely bring a giggle to all listeners.
Okay, to show I am a fair and judicious reviewer, I will include The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Chester Raccoon does not want to go to school. He will miss his mum and his toys and his many books. Mrs Raccoon understands these fears and very gently places a kiss in her son’s hand and then promises him that whenever he places his hand upon his cheek, her kiss will always be with him. The story is very lovely and gentle and also a quiet reassurance to young children about the first day of school. It was a nostalgic trip for me as well considering I now have to bribe my thirteen year old to get him to change his underwear. Instead, I shall merely kiss his hand gently and whisper ‘son, go forth and rid yourself of these foul undergarments.’ Serendipity. The Kissing Hand reminded me very much of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Poo; slightly whimsical and yet sweetly informative. The pictures also have that old fashioned appeal to them, ink and pen drawings filled in with bright colour.
There are many, many kissy kissy songs but being an aficionado of smoochy tunes I think you can trust me to choose wisely. I was going to leap towards Prince’s ‘Kiss’ but I can’t find a craft to match it so this one will have to do.
A Kiss When I wake
A kiss when I wake in the morning
A kiss when I go to bed,
A kiss when I burn my fingers,
A kiss when I bump my head.
A kiss when my bath begins
A kiss when my bath is over,
My mamma is as full of kisses
As nurse is full of pins.
A kiss when I pull her hair,
A kiss when I play with my rattle;
She covered me all over with kisses
The day that I fell down stair.
A kiss when I give her trouble,
A kiss when I give her joy;
There’s nothing like mamma’s kisses
To her own little baby boy.
This song was originally posted at:
And just to show you that I’m a woman of my word, here is a craft that the kids can use whilst their kissing their way through the song-
- pop stick
- confetti or scrap paper to decorate (the glittery the better)
- black tip marker
- Cut out a lip template (size is according to taste)
- trace around the lips to outline the shape with the black marker
- glue on scrap paper decorations
- tape pop stick onto the back
Now I could write about kisses forever and one day plan too, but all good things must come to an end although that’s not strictly true in the life of a librarian. It’s mardi gras every time I walk into the library. I have to beat them back. Anyhoo, don’t let envy stop you from enjoying the aforementioned books, our library catalogue or even the following delectable offerings.