Reviews for Kiss Box

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #2
This Little Bear isn't the same one made famous by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak, nor is he Martin Waddell's Little Bear, but he is certainly of the same ilk as those beloved characters. Similar in tone and theme to Minarik's classic series, this is for slightly younger readers, and it is a bit simpler with a briefer text. The focus here is on Little Bear and Mama Bear and their upcoming separation (Mama Bear must go out for the afternoon). Softly colored pencil-and-watercolor illustrations portray bucolic, quotidian scenes: Mama Bear pushing Little Bear on a swing, the two fishing together, a picnic in a field. Throughout, Mama Bear reassures Little Bear: "‘I will think about you all the time,' said his mama, ‘no matter where I am or what I do.'" Together they work out a solution for his separation anxiety: something to carry kisses in. The "Storyteller's Note" at the end makes explicit what many parental readers will already have surmised--that the kiss box is as helpful for mamas as it is for the cubs they miss. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Little Bear is worried because Mama Bear has to spend some time away from him. The two bears exchange boxes full of imaginary kisses as a reminder of how much they love each other. The ending may be a bit drawn-out, but the warm sentiments and clever resolution are reassuring. Expressive illustrations show the bears going about their daily activities.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
In this sweet story about separation anxiety, Mama Bear and Little Bear find a way to send kisses to each other when they are apart. The tale begins with a familiar concern of the intended audience: "Mama Bear was always home, and that's how Little Bear liked it. But sooner or later, all mama bears need to go away, even if it's just for a little while." Of course, this troubles Little Bear. What ensues is a series of touching scenes in which Little Bear and his mama establish just how much she loves him, how Little Bear will remain in her thoughts and ultimately how they can keep the many kisses they send to each other close by. Little Bear's brilliant idea is to make boxes to hold their kisses (represented as tiny paper hearts). Debut picture-book author Verburg structures the story, inspired by her personal experience, with a steady, soothing pace. Cole complements the language beautifully with watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations evoking the classic joys of childhood: enjoying a tree swing, fishing at a pond and sharing a yummy picnic lunch. Ever-patient Mama Bear and charming Little Bear remain the focus on each framed spread. The large font and generous spacing of the text should extend the book's appeal to newly independent readers as well. Similar in subject matter to Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand, illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (1993), but a whole lot more artful, this fresh take will motivate younger children to create boxes of their own. (storyteller's note) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #4

"ooner or later, all mama bears need to go away, even if it's just for a little while," writes debut author Verburg, founder and editorial director of Scholastic's Blue Sky Press imprint. But separation anxiety is no little thing--how can Little Bear be assured that out of sight doesn't mean out of mind? Mama Bear has a couple of ideas, but Little Bear comes up with the best one: he creates the titular box that he fills with a hundred kisses (in the form of cutout hearts), and has Mama Bear do the same. Whenever they miss one another, they can hold the box close or even open it up to "send kisses back and forth." Verburg handles her emotionally freighted material (based on personal experience, according to the endnote) with a light, patient touch, giving Little Bear's qualms their full due before introducing his solution. Cole's (the Big Chickens series) watercolor and colored pencil cartoons are friendly and familiar--there's something very reassuring in the understated emotion of his portrayals and the graceful beauty of his outdoor settings. Ages 3-5. (Dec.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

PreS--Mama Bear must go away for awhile and she attempts to console her child with such sentiments as, "I will always come back," as well as, "And even when I'm not with you, Little Bear, I'll send you love and kisses every minute of every day." Little Bear creates a "Kiss Box," in which he places a hundred kisses for his mother. He then requests that she make one for him, and he's calmed knowing that their love will be conveyed through the boxes while they are apart. Very similar to Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand (Child Welfare League of America, 1993), this book is intended to assure children that they are remembered and cared about even when separated from their loved ones. Cole's charming and cheery watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations of Mama Bear and Little Bear enjoying the day before she leaves do much to make this title appealing. The audience for this sweet, tender tale is very young children who may be reassured by the tangible reminder of love.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI

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