TOY DANCE PARTY

BEING THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A BOSSYBOOTS STINGRAY, A COURAGEOUS BUFFALO, & A HOPEFUL ROUND SOMEONE CALLED PLASTIC

From the Toys Go Out series

Even more tender than its predecessor, these six related stories skillfully capture the bittersweet challenges of childhood independence. Initially featured in Jenkins and Zelinsky’s Toys Go Out (2006), this collection stars winsome stuffed buffalo Lumpy, endearing rubber ball Plastic and vulnerable dry-clean-only StingRay. Witty dialogue and humorous scenes enhance these well-developed characters, as the friends realize their cherished girl’s growing fondness for Barbies and sleepovers takes precedence over her once-favored toys. Stories center on the new chewing-obsessed toy shark, Spark, who receives quite the unusual welcome, the perilous health of Dryer, unexpected basement parties and the toys’ unfortunate experimentation with nail polish. Zelinsky’s superlative black-and-white drawings never fail to bring warmth and depth to these chapters. The girl, not completely grown, occasionally still finds comfort with her toys; StingRay wisely notes that she will love them “forever but not as much.” Fortunately, StingRay’s statement rings false when describing this winning work, whose original fans should enjoy this entry as much as the first. Poignant and compelling, this sequel sparkles. (Fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-83935-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2008

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