cover image KISS KISS!


Margaret Wild, , illus. by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. . S&S, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86279-3

Baby Hippo is so eager to chase a dragonfly that he runs off without kissing his mother good morning. As he wanders through the forest and savanna, he discovers he's clearly in the minority. "Through the squelchy, squelchy mud waddled Baby Hippo. And this is what he heard...," writes Wild (Our Granny ), as a mother elephant and her baby touch trunks. "Kiss, kiss!" Baby Hippo soon retraces his steps back to Mama, who first gently teases him ("Out of the deep, deep water appeared two eyes, two wiggling ears, and a pair of snorting nostrils. 'Peekaboo!' said Mama"), then happily joins him in a "Kiss, kiss!" Strevens-Marzo's (the Toto books) characterizations of the animals combine strong shapes with inviting faces, and she uses dense, bright colors and energetic detailing to striking effect, rendering the grassy plains as waving stripes of gold and green. The moral of the story shines through: no matter how busy one may be, a sign of affection beats all. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)