Educational content made entertaining.

DRAGON!

From the Pierre & Paul series

Two friends battle a dragon and hunt for treasure in this bilingual adventure story of imaginative play.

Paul, a pale-skinned redhead with freckles, and Pierre, a brown-skinned boy with tight curls, are “friends and explorers.” They draw a treasure map, which they bring with them to take out the garbage. When they hear a roar, they use swords (sticks and rolled-up paper) and shields (a pizza box and the garbage-can lid) to defend themselves against a dragon, which is drawn on the page in Harold and the Purple Crayon fashion. Paul dies in the great battle but is revived by a lick from a passerby’s dog. The friends escape a poisonous swamp and arrive at the ocean. They take to sea on a boat but must swim to shore when a tsunami hits. The illustrations alternate between the real world inside and outside of Paul’s house in a city neighborhood, with pale, subdued backgrounds, and the fleshed-out world of the children’s imaginations, with playful transitions between the two. The blend of English and French in the text is a clever way to support bilingualism. Rather than repeating the same sentences in both languages, the story works like an early reader whose sentences alternate languages but repeat vocabulary words: “Suddenly they hear a roar. Un grand rugissement!” This allows both bilingual readers and second language learners to engage with the vocabulary in both languages without stopping the flow of the story. The pictures also support comprehension.

Educational content made entertaining. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-328-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more