cover image Counting Kisses

Counting Kisses

Karen Katz. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83470-7

With buoyant cartoons rendered in a bouquet of vibrant pastel tones, Katz (Over the Moon) creates a book as irresistible as a baby's smile. At first, however, the baby in the story is anything but smiling; that's why her family tries to woo her into sleep with a countdown of kisses on every darling part of her body. Mommy starts things rolling with ""ten little kisses on teeny tiny toes,"" and ""nine laughing kisses on busy, wriggly feet."" Each full-bleed, densely colored vignette that follows depicts an ecstatic baby being coddled and cuddled in a new way: Grandma holds her high in the air to give her belly button seven ""loud kisses,"" and the dog licks her six times while she's on the changing table. By the time the final kiss is delivered on her ""sleepy, dreamy head,"" the baby is utterly beatific--and fast asleep. Everything about this book says ""snuggle"": Katz's use of flattened perspectives, mixed media and an array of polka-dot, flower and heart patterns ensure that every picture exudes all the warmth of a lovingly stitched crazy quilt. The text should induce readers to launch a kiss-off of their own. Ages 1-5. (Jan.)