Even the most yoga-enthused readers may find this title pretentious and off-putting.

THE THREE LITTLE YOGIS AND THE WOLF WHO LOST HIS BREATH

A FAIRY TALE TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER

This wolf huffs and puffs whenever he is angry, simply because he doesn’t know what else to do with his anger.

But now he has a problem: He has lost his huff and puff. One day when in a cranky mood he encounters a peaceful-looking pig practicing yoga. Much as he wants “to huff and puff and blow down” the pig’s straw house, he cannot. The pig yogi—a caricatured stereotype of all things yoga—oozes compassion for her natural competitor; suggests they “meditate on that” when he explains his dilemma (which is, of course, that he can’t blow down her house); and teaches him belly breathing. When this isn’t enough to fully squelch the wolf’s urge to huff and puff, they go off to another yoga-practicing pig’s home for more meditation and breathing until they finally wind up at a brick yoga studio. It’s surprising to see such a flawed treatment from the author of I Am Yoga and I Am Peace (2015 and 2017; both illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds). The tone is surprisingly elitist, suggesting that those who don’t know how to breathe away their anger just need to be enlightened by yoga. The illustrations further propagate this trope with their stark contrast between the villainous wolf and the serene pigs. The only bright spot is the inclusion of a nonbinary pig, who’s referenced using the singular “they.”

Even the most yoga-enthused readers may find this title pretentious and off-putting. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4103-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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