A thoughtful protagonist makes his series debut; sports lovers and the athletic-averse alike will be charmed.

KING OF THE ICE

From the Miles Lewis series , Vol. 1

A first-time ice skater frets about an upcoming field trip to the rink.

When Miles’ friend RJ bets that Miles can’t skate without falling, Miles reluctantly accepts the challenge. After school, Miles learns that his nana, who lives with his family, was an ice skater when she was young; she tells him that though, as a Black woman, she didn’t see many skaters who looked like her on TV, she wanted to change that. At dinner, his father, a Black history professor, tells Miles about Willie O’Ree, the first Black man to enter the National Hockey League, and Miles researches O’Ree online. But soon Miles’ world begins to spiral out of control—a rift grows between him and RJ over the bet, and when he sees flyers for luxury apartments for seniors, he fears that Nana is thinking of moving. Readers of Lyons’ Jada Jones books will recognize her friend Miles in this new series spinoff. Miles is a smart, sensitive character in an all-too-relatable scenario: navigating friendship and learning to speak up for himself. Miles’ tightknit, multigenerational family exudes warmth, and Lyons deftly folds in information on a little-discussed but important Black trailblazing athlete. Bringing to life the text are black-and-white illustrations with pops of blue. Miles and his family are Black.

A thoughtful protagonist makes his series debut; sports lovers and the athletic-averse alike will be charmed. (biographical information about Willie O’Ree) (Chapter book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38349-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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