Themes of diversity and self-esteem not only fill the sails, but keep firm grasp of the wheel in this nautical caper.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE CAPTAIN JACK

From the Little Captain Jack series

A pirate captain so tiny he can be stuffed in a rival captain’s pocket discovers that greatness can come in any size or shape.

That conclusion, though worthy, doesn’t have much connection to the actual story, but it’s so good-natured most readers won’t mind. Being so dinky that his own crew can’t hear his commands, Little Captain Jack is finally driven to tears when Pirate Badlock ends a shipboard battle by picking him up and chucking him into the “cellar.” But after he manages to escape with help from a mouse and a sea gull, Jack rejoins his delighted crew and “finally felt proud and happy to be Little Captain Jack!” Outfitted with wooden swords and, in Badlock’s case, a fork rather than a hook at the end of one arm, the fierce but not very dangerous-looking pirates here include dogs, cats, and birds as well as men and women both brown or (more commonly) pink of skin. Eye patches and lopped limbs can be seen on every, er, hand, and one rosy-cheeked young tar even gets around in a wheelchair, begad. Carretero clearly enjoys making the most of Little Captain Jack’s diminutive size, positioning him in the shadow of an enormous sneaker in one scene and dwarfing him by his mouse friend in another.

Themes of diversity and self-esteem not only fill the sails, but keep firm grasp of the wheel in this nautical caper. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945415-0-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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