Review By HOMA WOODRUM
Lavishly illustrated, All Kinds of Kisses by Caldecott Medalist Nancy Tafuri is a big and bright book that follows animal parents kissing their babies. The unifying narrative that is noteworthy for veg parents, however, is that the animals featured are all connected by living on the same farm, ending with the human mother in the farmhouse kissing her baby.
Before writing reviews for Vegbooks, I never considered that images and stories that depict life on a farm as idyllic, with chickens scratching around out of doors, a farmer lovingly hand feeding sheep apples, and pigs playing in a pool of water, is a form of propoganda. A strong word, I know, but the classic image of the American subsistence farmer is heavily marketed to children with books, toys, and songs. At any rate, I still think this book is beautiful, the illustrations really take advantage of the large size of the book and even have visual goodies like a different bug hiding on each page. The animal baby and parent theme is common enough that veg parents can decide whether to check this one out (Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? comes to mind as an alternative) but I think we’ll be keeping this review copy on our shelves.
Do you have a favorite book with hidden details?
Jessica // Jan 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm
Yes – two in fact! I love Keith Baker’s Who Is the Beast? which features a small snail hidden on each page. And of course Nancy Tafuri’s lovely Have You Seen My Duckling? features the “missing” duckling on each page!
Jen // Jan 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm
Homa, this phrase, “the classic image of the American subsistence farmer is heavily marketed to children with books, toys, and songs” is so perfectly put. I love the way you described what goes on in terms of the disconnect between what our children are taught through books, marketing etc. and what the reality is for most farmed animals. Thanks for this review.
Homa // Jan 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm
Jessica- I have never read either of those, I will check them out!
Jen- Thank you! I find marketing fascinating but it has no place with children. They are too receptive and trusting absent some parental disgression. I saw an article saying it is not what we eat but whom…even our word choice communicates how we view animals. Interesting considering how kids films depict kindness to animals as a positive trait (all the princess movies for example) but then kids are sold a cartoon themed happy meal.
Homa // Jan 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm
Oops, discretion, not disgression.
peacegal // Jan 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm
I read this one as well–
Sara MM // Jan 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm
I just found this site-it’s fantastic. My daughter is 2 so she hasn’t really picked up on my fibs yet but whenever we read anything that has to do with farm animals (family members keep buying these kinds of books for us!) I explain throughout the story how the animals live on a sanctuary and what that means (in easy to understand form of course) 🙂
Maybe it will work maybe it will not but it makes me feel like I’m sending her the right message.
Homa // Jan 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Sara, welcome! There’s a book called “Bedtime for Frances” that is great except a father threatens to hit his daughter to get her to go back to bed. I always change the words if I read it aloud. I think calling it a farm sanctuary makes sense considering how the depictions are on the idyllic side, great way to deal with those books! Do check out “Jo Macdonald Saw a Pond,” by the way, for a great alternate take on the Old Macdonald song if you haven’t already. Here’s the VegBooks review: http://vegbooks.org/index.php/2011/10/22/jo-macdonald-saw-a-pond/
Homa // Jan 20, 2012 at 11:09 pm
Peacegal, thank you for sharing your review, I liked how you called the book’s setting a fantasy one.