From the author of the popular and much-loved book, The Kissing Hand, comes this new story in the life of Chester Raccoon – Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover.
Like author Audrey Penn’s other Chester Raccoon books, the story is very simple and very direct. Here, Chester is about to embark on his first sleepover at a friend’s house. He’s nervous about spending a night away from home and his mother. She gives him a kiss on his palm (ah…how nice to bring back a reminder of The Kissing Hand) and sends him off to play with his friends with Mrs. Opossum gently watching over them.
But as evening/night draws on and the group of friends grows tired, they settle in to sleep, but Chester can’t sleep. Eyes wide, he’s nervous as he looks around in the unfamiliar surrounding. Ultimately he goes to Mrs. Opossum who asks if he wants to go home. When he says he does, she enlists the help of Mrs. Rabbit who escorts him back to the warm embrace of his mother.
On the first reading, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about Chester not staying with his friends, but as I thought about it and re-read the book, I realized that the message here is that it’s okay if you aren’t ready for something. Everyone grows and matures in their own time and that’s okay. And as I recognized that, I liked the idea behind the story a little more.
Most of the story (two-thirds) is actually the friends playing together. While it’s nice to see the fun side of the play-date, to counter the fear Chester has later, I’d liked to have spent just a little less time here, and less time making fun of the skunk’s smell.
If I had little children, this would be a nice book to read to them when they are about to go on their first sleep-over. But make note of that point. There’s only ONE first sleep-over. Although I like the book, I don’t see many multiple readings because it won’t be necessary and therefore not requested by the young ones.
The illustrations by Barbara L. Gibson are bright and cheery and perfectly suited for this type of children’s picture book.
Looking for a good book? Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn adds story to the life of Chester Raccoon (The Kissing Hand) and is a nice reminder for children (and parents alike) that it’s okay if you aren’t ready for something new and scary.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover
author: Audrey Penn
artist: Barbara L. Gibson
hardcover, 32 pages