Too bad this tea is lukewarm.

NO TOOTING AT TEA

It’s teatime, and everything must be perfect. But wait—what was that sound?

A tousled-haired, jewelry-bedecked hostess welcomes two friends and an array of pet and toy guests for tea. But something—or someone—keeps tooting, and everyone knows “there is no tooting at tea.” Heim’s humorous tale of a tea party gone wrong vies for a seat at a table full of stories old and new. The text is clever enough, featuring a cheekily informative if Eurocentric afterword. The endlessly entertaining theme of flatulence, a satisfying portrayal of an imperious friend getting her just deserts (and desserts?), and the delightfully indelicate alliteration of the titular tooting should invite a wide audience. Regrettably, both design and illustrations make this party a little more exclusive. Fussy lettering, replete with curlicues and adorned with butterflies, flowers, and ribbons, clearly addresses this book to the pretty-pretty-princess set. Not’s art, with loose line drawings and Photoshop coloring, lacks depth, weight, and sophistication, appearing shabby among such company as Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy tales, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. All three girls appear to be white, and a blandly beautiful mother oversees the fete from afar. For tea with a little more body, see Ame Dyckman’s Tea Party Rules, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (2013), or Molly Idle’s Tea Rex (2013).

Too bad this tea is lukewarm. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-77474-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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