Listeners of all stripes, feline fanciers or not, will be pleased and amused as the mild adventure winds to a...

MISS HAZELTINE'S HOME FOR SHY AND FEARFUL CATS

A caring young woman who takes in homeless cats finds her kindness rewarded when she suffers in turn.

The plot is slight and straightforward, if delightfully far-fetched, and Potter’s use of clever language further enhances its appeal. Whether given up by their previous owners because of perceived deficiencies (“He runs from mice!”) or strays who find their ways to Miss Hazeltine’s house on their own, each and every cat is welcomed and rehabilitated. Miss Hazeltine teaches them to pounce, climb, stretch and “think good thoughts.” She even shares her own secret fears with Crumb, the smallest, most frightened cat of them all. Meanwhile Sif’s quirky, pencil-drawn, digitally colored illustrations create a vaguely fairy-tale feel, especially in Miss Hazeltine’s cozy home in the forest, which suits the traditional trope of the least likely hero overcoming obstacles to save his beloved. In contrast, touches of modernity and humor, like the heroine’s red high-tops or her use of yoga postures (cat and cow, anyone?) to encourage the strays’ skill-building, add visual interest and a charming freshness. Vignettes, single- and double-page spreads are perfectly paired with the text and offer plenty of details—and cats—to pore over.

Listeners of all stripes, feline fanciers or not, will be pleased and amused as the mild adventure winds to a happily-ever-after ending. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more