A mawkish, unremarkable story.

THE SHARING PARTY

It’s fall, the apples are ripe, and Max Mouse, eager to have an Apple Party, plans to pick some from a tree in the clearing.

When Max and his friend Henry Hedgehog arrive, the apples are gone. To make matters worse, they discover that their friend Rico Dormouse took them all and doesn’t plan to share them. He picked them all by himself and, for that reason, claims the rights to them. Dejectedly, Max shuts himself into his home. His other friends join forces, deciding that they can have a party with other treats, such as pancakes and apricot lemonade, and they gather the ingredients to do so. Rico apologizes for his greed and shares his apples, so everyone gathers together for an apple pancake party. Much about this story is excessively sweet and sentimental. Many of the animals’ names are cutesily alliterative; Max sprinkles sugar on pancakes at their party and calls it Friendship Powder (“with friendship powder, everything we eat together tastes even sweeter”); the animals sing a song about how sharing is “fun to do”; and sobbing Henry must be convinced that he has something to contribute to the party. The illustrations of these anthropomorphic creatures in muted shades also tend toward preciousness; the animals are all diminutive with button noses (or beaks). Even the book’s title typeface is exceptionally bouncy and cute. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.5-by-17.4-inch double-page spreads viewed at 94.2% of actual size.)

A mawkish, unremarkable story. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-6626-5007-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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