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Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover
Kissing Hand Series #1
Audrey Penn
Illustrated by Barbara Leonard Gibson

05/16/17/ ISBN 978-1939100115
Children's Books / Growing Up / Friendship, Social Skills & School Life/ Emotions & Feelings

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover is a delightful tale of a planned sleepover with Chester’s friends at Pepper Opossum’s tree. Chester has fun practicing hanging by his tail with Pepper, Stanley Squirrel, Amber Porcupine, Cassie Raccoon and Sassafras Skunk, the latter of whom releases a few “stinky puffs,” sure to make parents and children reading the book laugh. The story also touches on the importance of sharing and good sportsmanship, though I laughed when I pictured how a few children might react when they see what these friends eat for dinner.

This story is adorable and funny, but as with all Audrey Penn’s stories, the value of this story is to let children know that it’s okay if, after sharing time with friends, you are afraid to spend the night in a place other than your own bed. It’s okay to be a little scared and want to go home. Home is, after all, where the heart is, and this is a story to touch every child’s – and mother’s – heart.

It’s easy to see why Audrey Penn’s first release in the series won so many awards, for this 10th release is beautifully written and the illustrations are outstanding. The highly talented Barbara L. Gibson, who is an award-winning illustrator and has worked in freelance for over twenty-five years, has provided delightful renderings that add visual enchantment to an excellent release all children are bound to love.

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon
A Kiss Goodbye
Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories
A Color Game for Chester Raccoon

Reviewer’s Notes: Audrey Penn’s first release in this series, The Kissing Hand, was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. It won the National Education Association’s Teachers Top 100 Books for Children Award, the Top 100 Picture Books in a School Library Journal poll, and the 2002 Helen Keating Ott Award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association, among others. Ms. Penn is also the author of the middle grade series: Mystery at Blackbeard's Cove.

Reviewed 2017