Perfect for end-of-the–school-year read-alouds and good fun all year long.

RUNAWAY SIGNS

Once school’s out for summer, the kids on a School Crossing sign decide to take a vacation.

Leaping off to adventure, they encounter a bike sign (conveniently, an equally sentient and riderless tandem) inviting it along. The three cruise the bike path, beckoning other signs to take a break from their own jobs. In Holub’s wry, pun-filled text, much of it delivered in word bubbles, many signs “[jump] at the chance.” Farrell’s humorous illustrations depict the black silhouettes of newly liberated, ambulatory figures (a park ranger, hikers, a bear, road workers). Entire signs, like HAIRPIN TURN and ONE WAY, sport sturdy white arms and legs. This animated throng is soon cavorting on the rides at the Adventureland amusement park. From atop the Ferris wheel the alarmed kids who started this all clearly spy the signless town’s growing confusion: Cars collide on a one-way street, and summer school students are unsure about safe routes to school. In character, a certain sign takes charge. “STOP! The party’s OVER!...please proceed back to your signposts.” Racing back, lessons learned, the signs resolve never to leave their posts. Almost never, that is. Final pages reveal them making quick dashes to the ice cream wagon for double dip cones: It’s summer, after all. This union of dialogue-rich text and panoramic representations of a diverse town provides a just-right balance between community-safety instruction and kid-appealing hijinks.

Perfect for end-of-the–school-year read-alouds and good fun all year long. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-17225-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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

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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

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