A sincere message strangely delivered.

THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU!

A kid perseveres in his choice of reading material.

Stanley is excited to visit the bookmobile, but Ms. Christine, the usual librarian, is on vacation. A curmudgeonly old man with bushy eyebrows presides over the shelves instead, and he has particular ideas about who can read what. He believes that only girls should read books with female protagonists, only cats are allowed to read about cats, and robot books are only for robots—and he gives titles about each to their literate counterparts. He finally allows Stanley to check out a book about a peach (despite the main character not being a stone fruit), and the light-skinned, dark-haired boy reads happily next to his brown-skinned friend Valeria. When a confident dinosaur demands a book about ponies, the old man finally relents on his frustrating policy, and Stanley gains the courage to ask for what he wants. With a wacky plot despite its subdued tone and fantastical elements depicted in straightforward India ink, watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil, the story about stories centering a restrictive (and sexist) gatekeeper seems more finger-wagging for similarly minded adults than inspiring for children. Though the fun elements will make this an entertaining read-aloud, the story is both muddled and frustrating. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sincere message strangely delivered. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-984816-85-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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