A clever look at tolerance and understanding.

WELCOME TO BOBVILLE

CITY OF BOBS

In a town where everyone looks the same, individuality finally shines.

In Bobville, everyone is named “Bob” (according to their nametags), and everyone looks exactly the same. Striped shirts stretch over rotund bodies, noses flop, and skin and clothes are drab in grayscale shades. Every Bob does the same thing as the next Bob—they eat the same food, think the same thoughts, indulge in the same hobby (playing accordion, of course), and dream the same dreams at night (watching paint dry). They have heard of suspicious others who are not named Bob but see those only on the news. One day, one intrepid Bob wakes up and decides instead to be called “Bruce.” Bruce gets a new, very colorful wardrobe and steps outside. The town is appalled. They immediately ostracize the “Person Formerly Known as Bob,” quickly building a wall to keep Bruce out forever (and any other errant “not-Bobs,” too). Luckily, Bruce just might find a new, more accepting community, after all. Aptly named Staake fills the art with sly asides: a sign that states “Curb Your Bob,” a supermarket shelf filled with Bob-related cereals, and a “Bobhound” bus, to name a few. Background colors in Bobville are muted to pastel shades; the other side of the wall is splashy, diverse, and bold.

A clever look at tolerance and understanding. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12272-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture...

HAPPY DREAMER

Displaying his distinctive voice and images, Reynolds celebrates the joys and challenges of being a creative spirit.

“I am a HAPPY DREAMER,” cheers a thin, spiky-haired white boy as he flies skyward, streaming yellow swirls of sparkles. This little “dreamer maximus” piles on the energy with colors and noise and the joy-filled exuberance he has for life. “Wish you could HEAR inside my head / TRUMPETY, ZIGZAG JAZZ!” With clear honesty, he shares that the world tells him to be quiet, to focus and pay attention. Like a roller-coaster ride, Reynolds’ text and illustrations capture the energetic side of creativity and the gloom of cleaning up the messes that come with it while providing a wide vocabulary to describe emotional brilliance and resilience. The protagonist makes no apologies for expressing his feelings and embracing his distinct view of the world. This makes him happy. The book finishes with a question to readers: “What kind of dreamer are you?” Hinging outward, the double-page spread opens to four panels, each with a dozen examples of multiracial children being happy and being dreamers, showing inspiring possibilities for exploration. The best way, of course, is to “just BE YOU.”

A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-86501-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

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THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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