A delightful new series gets off to a charming start.

CORNBREAD & POPPY

From the Cornbread and Poppy series , Vol. 1

Two mouse best friends approach life differently.

Cornbread’s an organized, detail-oriented planner; he gathered his winter food supplies and stocked his shelves in advance: No risk taker, he. Not so pal Poppy. She’s always busy biking, hiking, and having adventures. “Nah, I’ll do it later,” is her motto. Unfortunately, she realizes too late that “later” has arrived and she’s got nothing put by. After searching, she and Cornbread discover there’s no food left anywhere. The only solution, Poppy concludes, is to forage on Holler Mountain, a dreaded place where no one dares venture. Cornbread doesn’t want Poppy to make the fearsome trek alone, so they bravely climb together. The terrified pair have some very unexpected encounters, including with a long-presumed-gone friend, who happens to possess a vast supply of food, which she generously shares with Poppy. When they arrive home, Cornbread’s perspectives on fun have changed! This cute, easy chapter book is a gently humorous tale about steadfast friends with opposite personalities. The bond between the murine buddies is sweet and convincing, and children will enjoy the friends’ lively exploits. Cordell’s trademark loose artwork, rendered in pen and ink with watercolor, is energetic and wonderfully captures gray Cornbread’s and tan Poppy’s activities, easy camaraderie, and expressive faces. Many illustrations appear as panels and insets. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A delightful new series gets off to a charming start. (Early chapter book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5487-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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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