No More Kisses for Bernard!
Niki Daly. Frances Lincoln (PGW, dist.), $17.99 (28p) ISBN 978-1-84780-105-0
The multitalented Daly (A Song for Jamela) does a commendable job of portraying a house full of love—and way too much physical affection. Visits from Bernard’s four aunts—Lulu, Lola, Lilly, and Tallulah—mean showers of lipsticky kisses and endless lovey-dovey talk: “You’re my sweetums-snookie pookie-wookie!” Aunt Lilly tells Bernard. Somehow, Bernard’s protests go unheard, even when he shuts himself in his room: “ ‘No! No! No!’ yelled Bernard, and hid his lips away.” Not even a knight’s helmet with a visor helps: Aunt Tallulah lifts it and kisses his nose. But she’s also the one who thinks of a solution that respects Bernard’s privacy and wish for no more lipstick-smeared good-byes. It’s a lighthearted yet important declaration of independence about children’s wishes regarding their bodies and their boundaries. Daly has a special gift for instant visual characterization—the four aunts are comically varied in appearance and clothing—and his portrait of a kid who succeeds in getting his family to listen to what he’s saying is a delight. There aren’t many readers who won’t identify powerfully with Bernard. Ages 3–7. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2012