A comforting, accessible introduction to a not often discussed subject.

A PLACE TO STAY

A SHELTER STORY

A woman and her young child try to make the best of things when they enter a homeless shelter.

The young narrator is understandably wary. Mama, attempting to allay her child’s anxiety and demonstrating a coping strategy, pretends it’s a royal abode. Inside, an administrator guides them to their bedroom; Mama offers up more playful scenarios to find fun amid new surroundings. Later, the two join other mothers and children of various ages and with different skin and hair colors in the communal dining room; one smiling girl wears the hijab and another, glasses. (The protagonist and Mama present white.) By shower time, the narrator feels acclimated enough to be the one to invite Mama to join an imaginative game, though this scene feels rushed. This gently told tale aims to reassure. It evokes a sense of immediacy, though the decision not to name the narrator may distance readers. There’s no explanation for why there are no adult men here, nor does anyone mention the absence of fathers. The flat, bright pencil-and-acrylic naïve-style illustrations succeed, with charming make-believe sequences and wide-eyed characters exuding hope. Except for a tearful woman shown on one page, readers could infer that residents feel welcomed and safe. Youngsters believing shelters are cheerless and impersonal may be comforted by the clean, colorful, and cozy facility. The backmatter offers lucid information about homelessness and shelters.

A comforting, accessible introduction to a not often discussed subject. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78285-824-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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