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How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?    by Varsha Bajaj & Ivan Bates order for
How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?
by Varsha Bajaj
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? is one of those bedtime stories that transform the day's minor trials and tribulations into a feeling of togetherness. A rhymed exchange (back and forth between parent and child) opens on Daddy Bear growling along with his big bear hug, 'How many kisses do you want tonight?' One, answers Little Bear, 'A big, loud kiss on my soft, brown hair.'

We move on through the animal kingdom - Ducks and Birds, Cats and Dogs and Horses, Bunnies and Butterflies, Snakes and Spiders - to end up with people. Varsha Bajaj's engaging verses count up kisses (1 to 10 for the animals, then 100 for a little girl and a final million for a boy), while Ivan Bates' illustrations do a delightful job of depicting familial feelings amongst all the different species shown.

The picture book ends with the title question, prompting those final loving bedtime kisses before the light goes out and it's time for sleep.

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