Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, February 10, 2014

Given And Received

It is used to say hello or goodbye.  It is a gesture made out of respect.  It is a sign of affection.  When eyelashes brush another's cheek, it is called a butterfly.  If made by angels, it appears on your skin as freckles.  A particular point in time will determine its meaning.

Kisses can be energetically thrown to speed their arrival.  Kisses can be gently blown to wander on currents of air.  You can catch a ball.  You can catch a cold.  But...Catching Kisses (Feiwel And Friends, December 31, 2013) by Amy Gibson with illustrations by Maria van Lieshout is the best of all.

At any given moment,
is blowing a kiss.
And somewhere, someone is catching it.

Kisses aren't fussy; they enjoy leaving from anywhere.  A certain smell, touch or sound may linger after they are gone. They are as unique as the being releasing them into the world.

Like the breath or breeze that carries them, they move sight unseen.  Up high or down low, they continue to go.  You can share their existence with no one or everyone.

There is no denying the strength of a kiss.  It can withstand all manner of life everywhere until its journey is complete.  When it settles exactly where it is meant to be, you will know its genuine worth.

Through the gifted writing of Amy Gibson simple sentences, individual touching truths, when combined, convey an enchanting definition of kisses.  Through each of our five senses they are characterized.

They smell of ginger and cinnamon,
tortillas and oatmeal,
fresh bread
and hot chocolate.

Descriptions of place, porches, busy city streets and pockets, and time, stormy weather and sadness, allow the reader to feel the enduring potential of a single kiss.

A palette of black, shades of teal, white, yellow and red is used exclusively in this book beginning with the matching book jacket and case.  The illustration on the front extends across the spine to the back in joyous symmetry.  Sailboats move through the water as dandelion seeds float across the sky and two cats nuzzle with their noses.  How can you not hear the children laughing and chatting as the dog barks, joining the chorus?

On the opening and closing endpapers the darker teal provides a background for a single row of white-etched dandelions.  On the first set all the seeds are intact; on the final set they are broken, flying around the page.  A red map of the United States with white place points is on the left page.

I know what you might be thinking at this point...a map?  What Maria van Lieshout does with each portion of the narrative is take readers on a trip across America; each two page illustration a specific place.  A single red seed floats somewhere in each scene representing a kiss.

Intricate details draw the reader into each visual; van Lieshout's signature signage, two dogs eating spaghetti (a nod to Disney's Lady and the Tramp), or a small sad boy getting a balloon bouquet at the fair.  Each picture bursts with happiness and love.  It's impossible to pick a favorite; all are worthy of framing.

Have I fallen in love with this book?  Yes! Catching Kisses written by Amy Gibson with illustrations by Maria van Lieshout has found a permanent home in my heart.  Share this title as much as you with as many people as you can.

Please follow the links embedded in the author's and illustrator's names to access their websites. This link is to the publisher website where you can view several illustrations from the book.


  1. Replies
    1. It really is gorgeous, Madelyn. I hope you are able to get a copy to enjoy and share with others.

  2. Perfect book for Valentine's day! Sweet!

    1. It really is adorable, Vanessa. Have fun sharing it with others.