Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors...

JADA JONES, ROCK STAR

From the Jada Jones series , Vol. 1

Easy to read and sprinkled with science, a contemporary tale of friendship, loss, acceptance, and learning how to be who you are and rock what you’ve got.

Jada Jones will remind caregivers of that time when the outdoors was fascinating. Who doesn’t remember collecting rocks as a kid? Even though Jada is in fourth grade, the language and tempo of the book are best suited to emergent readers new to chapter books. It’s an engaging tale about a little black girl whose best friend has moved away. When her mom advises Jada to try making new friends, Jada soon learns that two is company but three might be a crowd. Jada must maneuver through the minefield of new friends vs. old friends while working on a class project about rocks. She also struggles with jealousy from someone afraid Jada is trying to steal her best friend. Brantley-Newton’s illustrations of Jada, her African-American family, and her classmates, mostly children of color, are fun and inspiring, reminiscent of Sophie Blackall’s whimsical, wide-eyed depictions in the Ivy + Bean series. In fact, this first in the Jada Jones series feels very much like the perfect fit for fans of Ivy + Bean or Clementine, as Lyons sprinkles her latest character with warmth and a touch of sass. Sequel Class Act publishes simultaneously.

Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere . (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-448-48751-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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