The Kiss That Missed by David Melling
Reading level: Ages 4-8
This disarmingly cute bedtime story from writer-illustrator-dad David Melling (Where Are You?) follows a busy king whose misfired good-night kiss flies right past his son and out the window.
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"Once upon a Tuesday the king was in a hurry as usual. 'Goodnight,' he said and blew his son a Royal Kiss." But after rattling around the young prince's room and finding its way out the window, the Royal Kiss hurtles off into a dark and snowy forest. "Follow that Kiss!" commands the king to his loyal knight, and so begins a lengthy, silly chase scene. Even the putative bad guys in this story-- "growly" bears, "swoopy" owls, "dribbly" wolves, and a gigantic dragon--get a shot at providing comic relief, as the kiss streaks and swoops its way through the woods with the not-too-brave knight in hot pursuit.
The inspired illustrations and excellent design alone make this book a fun one, but it's Melling's restrained but infectious sense of fun that will ensure many repeat reads. From the comically animated lion emblazoned on the knight's shield to the forest creatures who seem to dance as they flee the dragon, Melling is clearly having a good time as he tucks us in--and when it comes to ensuring sweet dreams, that almost beats an accurately delivered good-night kiss.