cover image Catching Kisses

Catching Kisses

Amy Gibson, illus. by Maria Van Lieshout. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-312-37647-5

As children read Gibson’s ode to the rite of blowing kisses (“Like thumbprints and snowflakes, no two are the same”), they may realize that they’re also being taken on a tour of the U.S. Van Lieshout’s (Flight 1-2-3) silkscreen-like spreads start from the Golden Gate Bridge and head down Route 66 (where kisses “smell of ginger and cinnamon, tortillas and oatmeal, fresh bread and hot chocolate”), arrive at a station on Chicago’s Loop, and circle the country in a balance of urban energy and rural calm. Gibson (Split! Splat!) doesn’t shrink from strong feeling: “Kisses are powerful./ No wall can hold them back./ No fence can keep them out.” But Van Lieshout’s teal spreads, spiked with lime and strawberry, stay light and airy as she represents Gibson’s kisses as dandelion puffs that drift through every scene. What starts out as a celebration of affection turns out to be a paean to life in the United States, and the message is clear: in almost every kind of place you can think of, people are expressing love for each other. Ages 3–6. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Dec.)