Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Plant a Kiss

Plant a Kiss: A Cynic's Worst Nightmare

I’m going to open my review of Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds with two quick moments of full disclosure. Ready? Here goes. Full Disclosure #1: My daughter is an unabashed fan of Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I’ve mentioned her love of Rosenthal’s Little Pea board books on the blog before and she’s consistently fallen head over heels for every other Amy Rosenthal book we’ve brought home from the library or bookstore. (She particularly digs Duck! Rabbit!, This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations, and The Wonder Book… three books that I can definitely recommend as well.)

Illustrator Peter Reynolds is also a pretty big deal in children’s lit – his picture book, The Dot, is supposed to be fantastic – but, I’d admit, he’s one of those children’s book creators whom we’ve somehow missed entirely. Plant a Kiss is actually the first Peter Reynolds book we’ve ever read (it won’t be the last), and the only reason I point that out is to reassert that Amy Krouse Rosenthal really was the driving force for my daughter wanting to read this book. So, in terms of full disclosure, just FYI, we were TOTALLY predisposed to like this book.

Full Disclosure #2: Amy Krouse Rosenthal started a viral campaign a few weeks ago to get more people talking about Plant a Kiss and was offering copies of the book to people who felt they could act as a “Plant a Kiss Ambassador” and just let people know about the book. I sent Amy an email, got the NICEST response possible, and quickly received a copy of Plant a Kisswith a beautiful little message for my daughter inscribed on the title page. So… again, not only were we big fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal in the first place, but she then showed my daughter an immense amount of kindness, so, again, we’re talking about a RIDICULOUS level of predisposition for really, really wanting to like this book. Are we clear on that? OK. So, what’s the verdict?

Plant a Kiss

How it all begins...

Plant a Kiss is a pretty great book.

(Pause for the cynical heart of the internet calling bullshit on my very existence.)

Are you still with me? OK, I’m glad I was so upfront about my metric ton of favorable biases about Plant a Kiss, but, my positive prejudices aside, I think it’s hard to deny that this is a very warm-hearted, very well executed picture book that a lot of kids will really enjoy.

But I can understand why some parents might not be into Plant a Kiss. Why? Here’s the thing – I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty cynical person. I’m sarcastic, I love edgy, jaded authors, I complain a lot, I enjoy irony to the point where I’m a captain’s hat, a Wilco shirt, and a 24-day beard growth away from being a hipster – I am a part of the generation that PERFECTED eyerolling. I am a cynical bastard.

BUT, when I became a parent, I quickly realized that that cynicism is MY BAGGAGE. It’s not my kid’s. My daughter wears her heart on her sleeve 24/7 and, you know what, I’ll be damned if anyone, particularly her dad, makes her think that’s a bad idea. As a parent, it’s my job to get wide-eyed with wonder – to gleefully regale her with tales of pokey little puppies, magic, and adventure – and to not let my inner black-hearted, liberal arts critic-side ruin her fun. I’m not saying that I’m sheltering my daughter. I’m not. If she’s going to decide that the world is NOT a fine place and is NOT worth fighting for – more power to her – but I want that to be her decision, not mine. [read the rest of the post…]