Ideal antidote for anxious kids facing their own Worries.

JACK'S WORRY

A boy’s fear of playing his trumpet at his first concert nearly overwhelms him until he confides in his mother.

Jack loves playing his trumpet and looks forward to his “first-ever concert,” but on concert day he wakes with a Worry. Jack tries hiding under his blanket and his bed, but his Worry follows him. With his Worry in tow, Jack can’t enjoy the special breakfast his mother has made. He runs around the yard and plays his trumpet, but his Worry remains. Eventually, a distraught Jack confesses he doesn’t want to go to the concert because he’s afraid of making a mistake and his mother won’t love him anymore. When she assures him she’ll love him even if he plays “every note wrong,” all ends on a high note. Whimsical pencil-and-acrylic illustrations use swift, sketchy lines and color washes to visually take Jack from confident anticipation to debilitating fear. Before his Worry arrives, Jack appears center-page, self-assuredly playing his trumpet with notes joyously swirling across the page. Then Jack’s Worry appears, first as a small, somewhat-innocuous, blue-green blob, quickly morphing into a large, dark, ominous, overshadowing presence, sapping Jack’s confidence. However, once Jack confronts his Worry, it shrinks, leaving him smiling and empowered. Jack and his mom are white, but his friends and orchestra-mates are nicely diverse.

Ideal antidote for anxious kids facing their own Worries. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7845-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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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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