________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 34 . . . . May 7, 2010


Zero Kisses for Me.

Manuela Monari. Illustrated by Virginie Soumagnac.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2010.
24 pp., hardcover, $17.99.
ISBN 978-1-77049-208-0.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 2-6.

Review by Myra Junyk.

Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.

***½ /4


“I’m so big that I don’t need kisses anymore.”

“Not ever?”

Never. Zero kisses for me, Mama.”

“Okay, dear. But why?”

“Because I’m always being kissed.”


Our tiny hero has a problem. He is always being kissed by his mother and the other members of his family. He has now decided that he is too big for kisses! However, when Mama only kisses Bunny goodnight, our hero discovers that “sleep won’t come.” In fact, he is afraid of the dark. Mama comforts him with bunches of kisses – and he isn’t scared anymore!

     There are several important discoveries in this picture book. Relatives who are caring and supportive often show their emotions through kisses. However, sometimes kisses do come in handy. When you go to sleep, a kiss from your Mama keeps you safe from all the scary things in the dark. There are some valuable lessons learned about family, relationships, independence, caring and tenderness.

internal art

     Manuela Monari’s story will definitely appeal to young children who are exploring the limits of their independence. The simple sentence structures and honest emotions of the child and the mother are refreshing. Although this is Manuela’s first book for children published in Canada, her children’s books are known across Europe where she is a teacher, storyteller and bookstore owner in Modena, Italy.

     Virginie Soumagnac, the illustrator, uses simple but powerful images to engage readers in the story in wonderful ways! The colours of pink and red provide the unifying visual elements in this picture book. The illustrations give readers lots of additional detail about the action in this story. For example, the kisses themselves become characters! They are pictured as pink individualistic hearts leaping across the page.

     Zero Kisses for Me will be particularly useful for teachers as a read-aloud for young children. Students could definitely participate in a shared reading experience by taking on the roles of the two characters in the story. The story could provide the basis for very lively discussion with parents, caregivers or teachers about topics such as: bedtime, family, relationships, independence caring and appropriate ways of showing affection.

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk is a Toronto-based literacy advocate and author.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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