All sails are set and pulling in this imaginative matchup of words and pictures.

I WANT A BOAT!

A young child uses their imagination to conjure up a boat, a sea, and an adventure. And that’s just the beginning.

The story begins with wordless illustrations showing a child (illustrated with pale skin and red hair) dragging a box to their room. “I have a box. / I want a boat,” the child states. As the child’s imagination kicks into gear, boat, rudder, sail, sea, map, and crew are all imaginatively conjured. But when a storm is asked for, things get a bit dicey. (It all ends well.) The clipped narrative delivers a sturdy bass line thrumming with appealing protagonist confidence, but it is the illustrations that make it all a resounding success. With both clarity and a confident understatement that echoes the confidence of the narrative, the full-color illustrations are presented with a fine attention to detail that enriches and deepens the story, enabling readers to use their own imaginations as they pick out what has changed illustratively and what is developing. On a broader scale, the page-by-page design also augments the theme: When the child’s imagination hasn’t yet soared, the illustrations are contained by white space on which the text is printed. As the child’s imagination takes hold, the text is included inside the boxed illustrations, and as the imagination takes over, the illustrations become full-bleed double-page spreads.

All sails are set and pulling in this imaginative matchup of words and pictures. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4715-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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