The eyes of a loving daughter make a compassionate lens for this moving story.

RUBY'S HOPE

A STORY OF HOW THE FAMOUS “MIGRANT MOTHER” PHOTOGRAPH BECAME THE FACE OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Kulling and Dvojack bring the migrant history of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to life for young readers.

A young girl and her family navigate hard times after the stock market crash of 1929. Food on Ruby’s farm is scarce, but that doesn’t mean she wants to leave it. She loves the big sky above her family land and is devastated when drought forces her parents to load up their car and take her and her siblings to California. Like many Midwesterners, they must work as migrant field hands, picking lettuce in exchange for food. Illustrations dominated by grays and sepia capture the dry wasteland as well as the etched lines of worry on the farmers’ faces. Even a flat tire can be dangerous in a time of extreme poverty, and the author creates a satisfying depiction of people sharing what little they have in migrant camps. The book turns on an added element of history when a photographer arrives at Ruby’s makeshift community and decides to photograph her mother. The presence of the iconic photo entitled “Migrant Mother” lends a metaliterary element to the story as the author imagines the photographer recording history. An endnote on Roosevelt’s handling of the crisis adds to the book’s appeal.

The eyes of a loving daughter make a compassionate lens for this moving story. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-818-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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 fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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