A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson.

THE CANDY DISH

A little girl receives a very special gift, but she is not entirely satisfied.

When the pretty covered dish appears, the girl lifts its lid and finds one piece of candy. It is absolutely delicious, making her feel like the freedom and playfulness of a summer day. Of course she now wants more, but the lid will not open again no matter how she tries. She doesn’t feel fortunate to have received this gift—only upset that she can’t have more candy. The next morning she is surprised when the box easily opens to reveal a new piece of candy, even more delicious, filling her with playful joy. But the frustration of the day before returns as she unsuccessfully, even violently, attempts to get another piece of candy. The third day sees her planning to throw the box in the trash in utter defeat, but the lid once again opens, and she is gifted with another candy. But this time she reacts differently. From the beginning the narrator lets readers know that this girl is both unique and just like any other child. As the tale unfolds there are gentle admonishments about the girl’s sense of entitlement and the absence of gratitude or appreciation. When she finally understands her amazing gift, she delights in it and realizes that each piece of candy is like each day of her life, to be savored gratefully. Lirius’ lovely and ethereal illustrations bring Yamada’s loving philosophical lessons to life. The girl has loose, dark curls and light-brown skin; overall, the palette is dominated by blues, yellows, and browns.

A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson. (Picture book/fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-59-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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