by Audrey Penn, Barbara Leonard Gibson (Illustrations)

Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Tanglewood

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: “Are we almost there?” Chester Raccoon asked his mother. Chester is excited about going to his very first sleepover. After his mother drops him off at Pepper Opossum’s house with a Kissing Hand in his palm, Chester and his animal friends have a long day of playing games and eating snacks. But when the animals decide to bed down, Chester can’t go to sleep. While his Kissing Hand has kept him from getting scared, he isn’t in his own bedroom, and he misses his family. When Chester returns home, Mrs. Raccoon welcomes her little cub and reassures him that his home is always there when he needs it.

Young readers will enjoy reading about the party fun and take comfort when Chester finds himself in a situation they can relate to.

My Review: This is a new addition to the Kissing Hand series. When Chester Raccoon is invited to an “overday” (spending the day at his friend’s home) at his friend Pepper Opossum’s tree, he will be away from mother raccoon for the full day. She kisses his hand and closes it on her kiss as he is leaving. Chester joins all his friends for a day full of fun games and activities. When they all get tired, they go to Pepper’s tree and curl up in her hollow. All his friends fall asleep except for Chester. He remembers his mother’s Kissing Hand, but he still feels homesick and a tear escapes from his eye. When Pepper’s mom notices how sad he is, she enlists the help of Mrs. Rabbit to take Chester home. Once home and in his mother’s arms, he has no problem falling asleep across the hollow from his brother. Chester learns that it okay to be nervous when you experience new things and not to be afraid to ask for help. This is a great book to read to young children who might be nervous or scared about a new activity or to be leaving mom whether to go to a friend’s or relative’s house or even to school. The illustrations are adorable and the animals are so cute. I especially liked Sassafrass the skunk who kept “stinky puffing” when she was nervous, tired or giggling. This is also a good book about teaching tolerance for friends and those who might be different. A great book for families of young children as well as for kindergarten and early primary classrooms. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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