A bumpy ride to a worthy message that’s still worth the trip.

GURPLE AND PREEN

A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE

Seemingly insurmountable problems are defeated one step at a time.

Gurple, a purple robot, is bereft. Her spaceship has crashed, and all the giant crayons that serve as cargo pods have spilled out. Each crayon, when broken in half, might yield something to fix the ship, but to Gurple’s consternation their contents seem useless. Only Preen, Gurple’s faithful, mostly silent companion sees this “junk” for what it is. A string of lights, a skateboard, a hockey stick, and even a lampshade all have their uses. When the ship’s multiracial human crew awakens from suspended animation, the ship is fixed. How? As Gurple translates for Preen, “the way you do anything hard…step by step by step.” Seeming chaos can overwhelm young and old alike, so Park’s message to take it slow should be appreciated by all (she even works in a clever reference to Anne Lamotte’s classic writing manual, Bird by Bird). Readers who peer closely at the logic of the book, though, may find themselves scratching their heads. Why do the crayons yield such disparate, unrelated items? Who is the kid staring out the window at the moon at the end of the book? Fortunately, the lively cartoon art, featuring digitally collaged crayons, is consistently bright, colorful, and funny. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53% of actual size.)

A bumpy ride to a worthy message that’s still worth the trip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3141-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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