A timely, vibrant, and cheerfully illustrated reminder about the importance of balance.

JACKIE DOES IT ALL

An overachieving scout learns the value of saying no in this picture book.

Butterfly Brigade member Jackie, a confident girl with brown skin, curly hair, and glasses, is excited to attend her first scout jamboree. Her enthusiasm for earning patches puts her in the running for the “top scout overall” Golden Monarch Award. She comes up with a plan to enter the Great Jamboree storytelling competition, which would earn her two more patches—she just has to write a tale before the event. It seems simple enough, but when her fellow scouts ask for help fixing their banner and Ms. Cruz needs Jackie to dogsit, the girl finds herself in over her head. Luckily, Mommy’s there with sage advice: “To make people happy, I know how far you would go, / but there often” come times “when you just have to say ‘NO!’ ” For children (and adults) who struggle because they take on too many tasks, this valuable lesson—learned early—could save a lot of future tears. Jackie is a likable protagonist who strives to help everyone. She eventually learns that taking care of herself is just as vital. Ferguson’s humorous, rhyming stanzas scan smoothly throughout, and the invented scouting organization allows more children to identify with Jackie’s goals. The action-oriented illustrations that depict a brown-skinned cast are where Jackie really shines. Aryutova deftly captures the girl’s spirit and challenges in soft-edged, cartoon images.

A timely, vibrant, and cheerfully illustrated reminder about the importance of balance.

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73616-213-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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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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