Utterly satisfying.

READ REVIEW

THE HIKE

Three children hike up a mountain together, enjoying the process in different ways.

Wren, a brown child with an afro puff and glasses, brings a sketchbook and a flag. El, an Asian-presenting child, brings a poetry notebook. Hattie, the smallest, with tan skin and a mop of reddish-brown hair, brings feathers and holds Bean the dog’s leash. Hiking is their “favorite thing to do”—and no wonder. They start out running “like maniacs” through the forest until they reach “a ripe patch of thimbleberries,” which they eat until they’re full. El teaches the others to make little leaf baskets. They get lost and Hattie uses maps to find their way. They draw wildlife, spot deer tracks, and, in a magic moment, actually see a deer before it startles and disappears. The children tire, but they help one another persevere, and finally, as the sky turns yellow-pink, they reach the top, where the flag, a poem, and the feathers make for a simple celebration. After a satisfied moment of rest, they return to their small, apparently adult-free home as the stars come out (constellations are depicted). The flora and fauna of their Western woodland are labeled on each spread, and views of the children’s sketches share more of the experience with readers. Well-designed pictures create a depth and fullness that immerse readers in the forest. Endmatter makes clever use of Wren’s sketch pad to offer additional information about things seen in the woods.

Utterly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7461-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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