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With the approach of summer, children face the simmering mysteries of camp or the complexities of the trip to spend time with the other parent. And only months away lurk September and the start of school. All involve the unsettling prospect of separating from home to experience new situations, social or educational or both. The Kissing Hand, by Olney author Audrey Penn, provides a sweet and succinct primer designed to help kids of any age shift into another gear and place. Since good intentions about teaching life’s lessons are not enough to justify a book, it is fortunate that Hand, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is grand to read and a treat for the eye. Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak have illustrated the book in a style that shimmers with the anthropomorphic specificity of dreams; in texture and detail, their animal portraiture and landscapery compare favorably with Alexandra Day’s classicist renderings of Carl the Rottweiler. Though not in the same rollicking league of adventure as the “Carl” books, Hand does tread into scary places. The plot tells how Chester the raccoon finds a way to lose the blues brought on by missing his mom. In the text of this, her fourth children’s book, Penn entertains and elucidates without a trace of patronizing tone, and writes unsoppily about emotional matters. Parents and children reading Hand together will recognize themselves in the book’s message.