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The Kissing Hand Hardcover – October 15, 1993

621 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Chester the Raccoon Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go to school--he wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he'll love school--with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that's been in the family for years--the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home. She takes her son's hand, spreads his tiny fingers into a fan and kisses his palm--smack dab in the middle: "Chester felt his mother's kiss rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss. Chester is so pleased with his Kissing Hand that he--in a genuinely touching moment--gives his mom a Kissing Hand, too, to comfort her when he is away. Audrey Penn's The Kissing Hand, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is just the right book for any child taking that fledgling plunge into preschool--or for any youngster who is temporarily separated from home or loved ones. The rough but endearing raccoon illustrations are as satisfying and soothing for anxious children as the simple story. (Ages 5 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her foreword to Penn's sugary tale about Chester, a young raccoon who would rather stay at home than go to school, Jean Kennedy Smith notes that the story is "for any child who confronts a difficult situation, and for the child within each of us who sometimes needs reassurance." Its obvious message is delivered by Mrs. Raccoon, who tells her son that "I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home." She then kisses his palm, and Chester feels the kiss "rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he gets lonely, she advises, he is to press his hand to his cheek and "that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts." As it may for youngsters in comparable situations, this "secret" works for Chester, who in turn kisses his mother's palm so that she, too, will be reassured. Sprinkled with hearts and flowers, Harper and Leak's paintings of the raccoons and their woodland habitat are pleasant if sentimental. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press; Stk edition (October 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933718005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933718002
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (621 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I started my first career as a ballerina dancing with the National Ballet, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and the Danny Diamond Dance Theatre. I also served as alignist and choreographer for the U.S Figure Skating Team in preparation for the Pan American Games (1973), and for the 1976 Olympic Gymnastics team. In 1980 I became too ill with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) to continue dancing. Because I had done a lot of children's theatre and children's dance, and I have always enjoyed children's literature, I turned to writing children's books for my creative outlet.

But my writing career actually began much earlier than 1980. When I was a young girl, I had two older brothers who took great joy in teasing me.

When I was in the fourth grade, I began keeping journals of the silly things they would say and do. Then I began adding things my pets did. Finally, I began to write down everything I saw and heard every day.

When I was in my early twenties, my mother found my journals and I turned the stories into my first book called, Happy Apple Told Me. But, I learned a very hard lesson writing that first book. I learned that you don't just write a book; you rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite a book. Thirty years later, I am still learning.

My passionate advocacy for children continually molds my writing style and subject matter. I have taken my one-woman educational program, The Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children's hospitals, where I shape and refine my story ideas in partnership with kids.

My favorite part about being a children's author is meeting my readers when I speak at a school or at a store. I get so many wonderful ideas from you, and you, and you. So, thank you for your inspired ideas, and letters, and emails. Now, it's your turn to keep a journal.

I live with my husband, my youngest daughter (who inspired The Kissing Hand), and two dogs in Olney, Maryland. We have three children and one foster child.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Ashley E. Taylor on March 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book touched my heart and brought back so many fond memories. I came across this book lastnight while babysitting and loved it. In elementary, my siblings and I moved schools. Every morning as my mom dropped us off at school she would kiss our hands. She told us that when we needed her and missed her so much, to squeeze our hand so that we could hug her kiss and know that she loved us and was there with us. Time passed and we began asking for those kisses, those comforts, less and less. Until days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and it became the time that we no longer asked for those kisses. I am now 18 and will graduate in May from high school. I will leave my comfort zone soon and will need her comfort again. Sometimes I know that I will long to be so young again and want to have those kisses from my mom. When I came across this book a few days ago I was, well, I was speechless. I had no idea that this was not just MY mom's jesture to sooth her children, but another mother's jesture to quiet their fears. I haven't told my mom about the book yet, instead I have decided to buy her a copy and give it to her after my graduation, because I know that she is going to need those kisses in her hand for comfort.
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93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Laura Green on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Chester Racoon and his mother prepare for Chester's first "night" at school. He is a little apprehensive, and, of course, he wants to stay home with his mom. Mrs. Racoon shares a secret with Chester called the Kissing Hand. She kisses Chester's palm and tells him to put it to his cheek when he begins to feel lonely at school. This book makes a great gift for a child entering school or going to camp for the first time, or for any occasion where a child will be temporarily separated from home and loved ones. It can also be used to help a child through the death of a parent or special loved one, and for children placed in foster families and residential facilities. For teachers, this book would be super to read the first day of school. It could also lead up to wonderful science, social studies, and reading/writing activities.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My kindergarten son brought this home from school. I think it's one of the sweetest books I have ever read. I read it to my teenagers and the senior in high school began to cry. I am sending it to my college daughter for her birthday, as it will be the first time in her life we are separated on her birthday. A must for every family who has a college-bound child as well as any time of separation.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kevin A. Decker on August 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite books. The story of little Chester the raccoon, his fear of going away to school, and how his mom gives him a kissing hand so he'll know her love is with him is a priceless story. I've read it to my son and daughter often over the last few years.

On Sunday afternoon my wife and I took our son to his first overnight camp. Three days away in the Carolina mountains at Camp Grier, a Presbyterian church camp. As we were about to leave the camp after dropping him off I called my son over and said "I have 3 things that I want you to remember while you're here.

Number 1 is to be respectful of your fellow campers and the camp counselors that are here.

Number 2 is to remember that if you get tired, or scared, or frustrated to say a prayer and God will be with you.

Number 3 is,"

I took his little hand in mine, kissed his palm, and closed his fingers over it,

"Whenever you feel like you're missing your mom, or your dad, or home. Hold this up to your cheek and remember that we love you and we'll be with you again soon."

We then sent him off to his cabin and his camp mates and he skipped joyfully away. We headed back to the car to leave and found that he had forgotten something. I quickly carried it to his cabin and found him talking with one of his counselors. As I handed him the item I asked him what he was going to do if he missed his mom and dad. He smiled a sheepish grin and held his fist up to his cheek.

I walked away knowing that for the next three days he was going to be fine.

I highly recommend "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn for you and a child that you love.

Kevin Decker
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Poor little Chester, the racoon, it's time for him to go off to school and he doesn't want to leave his mother. Mother knows that Chester will love school once he gets there. There'll be new friends to meet, new toys to play with, new books to read and even a new swing to swing on. So she tells him a special secret about the "kissing hand". She takes his little hand, spreads the fingers and places a kiss right in the middle of his palm. Now when he feels lonely and needs a little love from home, he can press his hand against his cheek and know his mother's love will be with him. And, before he scampers off to school, he gives his mother the kissing hand too, so that she won't miss him too much, while he's away..... Audrey Penn has written a sweet, endearing story to help little ones face those scary feelings on their first days of separation. Her gentle text is complimented by expressive, detailed illustrations and together will let youngsters know that they're not alone out there in the world. The Kissing Hand is the perfect bedtime story, pre-schoolers will want to read again and again and makes a wonderful addition to all home libraries.
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