Cute—but short a few grapes.

BUNNY FIGURES IT OUT

Learn gentle information-gathering skills through jelly-making.

Bunny is a rabbit on a mission: to make a peanut-butter–and–grape-jelly sandwich for lunch. Sadly, the household appears to be out of jelly, and no one can help. Mom is busy with work, so Bunny resolves to make some. But…Bunny’s older brother’s phone search returns shoes instead of jelly; Dad’s understanding is pretty rudimentary; Grandma’s friends quarrel over whose recipe is the correct one; and pal Kitty’s knowledge is guided more by click-bait internet videos than facts. Bunny’s last hope is the public library, where a giraffe librarian directs her to the cookbook section and a reliable answer. The story and the illustrations are adorable, but the message about the importance of finding trusted sources is simplistic. A skillful educator or caregiver may be able to use the story as a springboard for a meaningful conversation about discovering valid info, but it will be an uphill journey. The added (outdated) implication that a library is useful only for paper-based research help is unintended misinformation that should be avoided. Backmatter includes a recipe for making (but not canning) jelly, but there are no further tips on finding trusted sources. It’s a shame because the story had potential. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Cute—but short a few grapes. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11528-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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