Adopt a beautiful family ritual from read aloud book-pick #13, ”The Kissing Hand”. Our list of conversation starters and Kissing Hand cookies will bring the story to life at home and in school. This week we’re also including an easy Learning Solution for little ones who don’t know their right “Kissing Hand” from their left. Read on!
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Mrs. Raccoon comforts her timid son Chester with a “secret” that comes with the kiss she plants in the middle of Chester’s palm.
“Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.’ And that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts.”
The Story Behind The Story
In real life, a mother raccoon will place her baby’s paw on her nose so the cub is able to recognize the mother’s scent. Author Audrey Penn came up with a similar ritual to share with her young daughter and then went on to write "The Kissing Hand".
“When my daughter was afraid to go to kindergarten, we tried the mommy raccoon’s kiss in the hand and it worked. My daughter could put my kiss on her face any time she wanted to."
Read and Explore
- A newborn "kit" or "cub" raccoon has no mask around his/her eyes.
- Raccoons use over 200 different sounds to communicate with one another.
- You can bake Kissing Hand treats with this cookie cutter...or make a stencil of your child's hand and refer here to Martha Stewart's cookie recipe.
- Teach your child his right “paw” from left “paw" by forming the letter L using his left hand.
- Audrey Penn started writing in 4th grade journaling the antics of her two older brothers. Later she added stories about the family pets and general day-to-day observations.
- Audrey Penn’s career as an accomplished ballerina and choreographer was curtailed in her late 20s due to illness. Fulfilling her other love for the written word, she went on to become an acclaimed children’s book author.
Ask your child:
- Where is Chester Raccoon going to school? (The forest...or school of life. Open ended question)
- “I don’t want to go to school", he told his mother. If you didn’t go to school, who and what would you miss? (open ended)
- “You’ll make new friends. And play with new toys. Read new books.” What is your favorite book at school? (open ended)
- “Mrs. Raccoon took Chester’s left hand…” Ask your child to show you his left hand.
- Mrs. Raccoon “took Chester’s hand and carefully wrapped his fingers around the kiss.” Can you lose a kiss? How many kisses do you think Chester can hold in his hand? (open ended)
- Show me how Chester “unfolded her large familiar fingers into a fan” ? Make a gentle fist so your child can spread your fingers out like a fan.
- What else does fan mean? (To fan is an action. Ceiling fan. Paper or fabric fan.)
- “The warmth of Chester’s kiss filled her heart with special words.” (For more advanced discussion ask your child what this all means. Can kisses actually warm someone’s heart? What are special words and how do they fill the heart? (Advanced discussion addressing abstract concepts)
- Ask your child if he/she would like to have a "Kissing Hand."
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Caryl Frankenberger & Julie E. Janson