A valuable message about isolation and community, delightfully delivered.

TINY CEDRIC

The world’s smallest king is obsessed with his short…comings.

King Cedric, “ME the First,” doesn’t like being small. “At all.” He needs a ladder to climb up to his loveseat, in which he looks ludicrously diminutive. He loves to sail aloft in his hot air balloon because everyone below him looks so teeny. Special mirrors in the palace make him appear quite tall. Cedric issues a proclamation that no one in the kingdom can be taller than he is. This leads to a mass exodus; Cedric wakes up one morning to find his castle filled with the only people smaller than him…babies! They can’t perform any of the Royal Duties; they cry for milk and cookies; and they climb onto everything. Without really noticing it, Cedric does his best to take care of them, exhausting himself in the process. Another proclamation brings all the parents back. As the babies (depicted as racially diverse) grow up, Cedric doesn’t notice that they are getting taller than him; he’s having too much fun. Lloyd-Jones’ understated drollery works hand in hand with Watkins’ abundant mischief. Cedric presents White; he has the build of a small brick, and his hair consists of two orange wings, like Larry from the Three Stooges. The castle looks something like an upside-down wedding cake, with several turrets shooting skyward from the top, lopsided layer. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A valuable message about isolation and community, delightfully delivered. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7072-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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