Snicket’s fans will love this book, but readers need never have read a single word by the author to appreciate the...

THE BAD MOOD AND THE STICK

A bad mood dogs different people in turn, while the fate of a stick dropped from a tree seems to move the bad mood along.

Curly, a little redheaded, white girl out for a walk with her mother and brother, is carrying around a bad mood (depicted as a multicolored cloud with a frowny face) because although they passed an ice cream shop two hours earlier, they didn’t get any ice cream. She finds a stick that had been dropped by a tree the night before and uses it to poke her little brother. She feels better, but now her scolding mother is carrying the bad mood. And so the bad mood moves on from her mother to a carpenter to a cat, to other animals and people, and the stick experiences a similar fate until it gains a new enhancement and is given a place of prominence, while the bad mood sails on. Snicket’s story takes unexpected turns and reveals delightful surprises, told with smart, silly language and cheeky asides; every page blooms with beautiful artwork done in bright, colorful gouache washes and featuring charming, 1960s-style animal and human characters. There’s even an interracial love story interwoven along the way.

Snicket’s fans will love this book, but readers need never have read a single word by the author to appreciate the wonderfully presented universality of the bad mood and how quickly a little thing can chase it away—or beckon it upon us . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-39278-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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