A lovely and hopeful philosophical exercise.

FINDING MUCHNESS

HOW TO ADD MORE LIFE TO LIFE

Follow your heart, and your life will increase in richness and joy.

Whether it’s taking chances, tackling a problem, experimenting with new ideas, or being brave enough to try new things, Yamada (Trying, 2020, etc.) is a master at encouraging young ones. This time he expands on these themes, presenting a platform for living the best kind of life. Finding what you love is only the first step. Readers are exhorted to take every bit of promise, creativity, and determination they have, then practice, stretch it to its limits, and turn it into achievement. Every clichéd bit of advice is included, but there is no sense of preaching or condescension, and it all somehow feels fresh and new. It speaks directly to young readers in a gentle, warm tone and offers a blueprint for choosing the better path. Santoso’s engaging little duckling, whose pale yellow beak and feet are the only bits of color in the mostly taupe and gray illustrations, acts out Yamada’s suggestions with humor and gusto. Matching action to the text with just enough exaggeration to prove the point, the duckling exudes enthusiasm; it makes every effort to create, to bravely seek adventure, and to find the joyful heart of every endeavor. Will young readers and their grown-ups find “muchness” and ways to “add more life to life?” Perhaps and perhaps not, but they will certainly find much to savor and discuss

A lovely and hopeful philosophical exercise. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-43-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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