A gentle tale of courage and friendship.

DAVID JUMPS IN

A classic game on the playground becomes a vehicle for a young boy to make friends.

It is David’s first day at his new school. “He didn’t know anyone. / He had no friends / To hang out with / Or trade tuna fish sandwiches.” As he observes his new surroundings, “bundled up deep in his pocket: / A string of rubber bands [waits] / Knotted and ready / For a game of elastic skip.” The recess bell rings, giving David the chance to see what his classmates play. Many of the activities of choice may carry a touch of nostalgia for adult readers, with students playing ring around the rosy, red rover, and hopscotch or skipping rope. As David spends ample time exploring his options, he even finds some kids playing video games, reading, or simply “Blowing dandelions into / A galaxy of stars.” Eventually he finds a group of “classmates / Tired of hopscotching / Back and forth / And forth and back.” David jumps at the opportunity to offer up his elastic skip, explaining the rules successfully to “create a new playing field” of friends. Maurey is strategic with detail, paring ample use of negative space with soft gradients of pastel color. The result is a whimsical tone that matches the controlled, poetic text. David presents as Asian with classmates diverse both racially and in ability. An author’s note follows that briefly touches on the Chinese origins of elastic skip.

A gentle tale of courage and friendship. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77138-845-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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