cover image Kisses for Kindergarten

Kisses for Kindergarten

Livingstone Crouse, illus. by Macky Pamintuan. Silver Dolphin, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62686-703-1

Stella Isabella Harden isn’t quite ready to start kindergarten, so she decides to rely on the tutelage of her rowdy golden retriever–like puppy, Buster. Pamintuan (Zoo Zoom!) captures this tender girl-and-dog friendship in splashy, cinematic scenes that reveal that Buster’s teaching methods are more about sloppy kisses and big messes than reading, writing, and arithmetic. When Stella tries to read aloud to Buster during story time, it becomes clear that there are some things she can’t learn at home: “He laid his paw upon the page,/ and showing wisdom twice his age,/ let Stella Isabella know/ to kindergarten she must go.” Despite some inelegant and grating rhymes (“And Stella Isabella beamed./ How could she be better teamed?”), pseudonymous author Crouse shows how, deep down, even the most reluctant kids know when it’s time to go to school. Ages 3–up.[em] Illustrator’s agent: Mela Bolinao, MB Artists. (June) [/em]