A feel-good volume lacking the wonder of Wonder.

WE'RE ALL WONDERS

Auggie, from the bestselling novel Wonder (2012), returns as a picture-book protagonist.

Though Auggie tries to do the normal things other kids do—ride a bike, eat ice cream, play ball—he doesn’t look like other kids. Though it takes knowledge of previous installments in the Wonder series to understand that Auggie has serious facial deformities and has had many corrective surgeries, it is clear what Auggie endures from other kids: “Sometimes they stare at me. They point or laugh. They even say mean things behind my back. But I can hear them.” His mother tells him he’s a wonder; in fact, “we’re all wonders,” Auggie informs readers. But with no characterization and little in the text beyond inspirational messages, it’s not clear what makes Auggie a wonder; he wants to be taken as he is, but readers—unless they have read the other volumes—never come to know him. Borrowing the now-iconic stylized image of a nearly featureless, one-eyed, white Auggie from the original hardcover edition and employing colorful, digitally rendered art, this edition pulls the heartwarming spirit from Wonder but little of the substance. Auggie’s first-person point of view is too narrow to allow for the range of voices that made the novel so rich. Palacio has perhaps mined the same material once too often.

A feel-good volume lacking the wonder of Wonder. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6649-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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