THE CYCLOPS WITCH AND THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES

A witch confronts her greatest fear: helpful human children in perky uniforms.

Green-skinned and with a big pointy hat cocked stylishly over her one huge eye, the Cyclops Witch fearlessly takes on winged monkeys and other creatures—but when a diverse quartet of smiling young scouts appears on her porch one night, she “blitzed out her back window, running like mad. / ‘Gah! Children!’ she shrieked. ‘This is so very bad!’ ” Undeterred by her efforts to leave them in the clutches of a mothman, a vampire, or even a sea monster (“What a world!” she moans), her pursuers at last catch up and introduce themselves as Heebie-Jeebies Maria, Germaine, Hector, and Latasha: “We travel the world, over mountain, sea and prairie, / to help others overcome the things they find scary.” Instantly cured, the witch helps the winged monkeys get over their fear of water and other good deeds, thus earning a sash and tiara of her very own. The meter and rhyme may be, to say the least, undisciplined (“Maria helped the hobgoblin be cool around fire, / and with Germaine’s help, exercising’s fun for Vampire”), but, cribbing freely from a certain classic movie, the Sullivan twins dish up a yarn replete with cute monsters, cuter children, an unusually memorable protagonist, and buckets of fluffy uplift.

Readers will melt. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-948931-00-7

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Hazy Dell Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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