Maybe a little forced, but the mathematical wonder is creatively incorporated.

LEO + LEA

A child who likes to count meets a new classmate who likes to draw. What could they possibly have in common?

In this sparely told and illustrated episode, Leo, depicted with Asian features, walks to school counting: one flower, two trees, three squirrels, five steps, eight new classmates, 13 raindrops on the window, and so on. One day, he meets Lea, a dark-skinned classmate who sits next to him drawing. Later, upset by his inability to count all the daisies he sees outside (the loud playground noises overwhelm him), Leo takes off across grassy fields to a peaceful glade, where he finds Lea and excitedly discovers that she’s drawn 21 leaves and 13 flowers. “I love / patterns / Want to / see more?” she asks. As Wesolowska explains in her author’s note, these numbers—echoed in the changing number of words on the pages of her narrative—represent the Fibonacci sequence: a progression of sums beginning 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 that mathematically generate what is known as the golden ratio and also reflect patterns of leaves, flower petals, and other features often found in nature. Aside from framing a warm portrayal of a friendship sparked by an unexpected connection, the plot and the device don’t seem to have all that much to do with each other, but the two don’t get in each other’s way, either. For clearer and more direct views of the sequence and its inventor, steer younger readers to Sarah C. Campbell’s Growing Patterns (2010), with photographs by Richard P. Campbell, or Joseph D’Agnese’s Blockhead (2010), illustrated by John O’Brien. Leo and Lea’s classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Maybe a little forced, but the mathematical wonder is creatively incorporated. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-30287-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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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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