Audrey Penn takes her one-woman educational program, the Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children's hospitals where she shapes and refines her story ideas in partnership with kids. She is also highly sought after as a conference keynote speaker by groups of teachers and other professionals who work with children. Ruth Harper was born in England, is a descendent of Sir Christopher Wren, and lived in six countries before coming to America. She has been an art teacher, where she wrote an accredited art curriculum, presented seminars on art education, been a guest illustrator at elementary schools, and has donated many works to fund-raising events.
PreS-Gr 3-Chester Raccoon is going to school for the first time and he's nervous. His mother reassures him, and places a kiss in the palm of his hand. Now it's a "kissing hand." Whenever he's lonely or afraid, he can place that hand on his cheek and feel his mother's kiss. Chester gives his mother a kissing hand as well, and heads off to school. This gently reassuring tale by Audrey Penn (Tanglewood, 1993) has been used for many years by parents to prepare young children for new experiences. Here it is performed by Heather Koren, with light, evocative, original background music and occasional sound effects. Owl-hoot page-turn signals are available on the first track. A sweet song has been added, with lyrics by the author, and music by Garth Koren. This gentle story will provide young listeners with a warm, fuzzy feeling of security. This presentation is best used for repeated exposure to the story. The first time should always be while snuggled on a parent's lap, with a kiss ready to be deposited on a small palm.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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. (Mar.)