Gentle political commentary reminds everyone about the power of kindness but is itself incomplete.

READ REVIEW

THERE'S ROOM FOR EVERYONE

An intimate musing on the nature of space.

A child marvels that at each stage of life, while growing, there always seems to be enough room: in the womb, for many stuffed animals squeezed into bed, for all the books in the library, and even for all the stars in the sky. Life may be crowded at times (the tot’s parents playfully curl around the perimeter of the frame with hopelessly long limbs), but there is always intentional space kept around the child. However, when the child grows up, space becomes a commodity. People begin to fight, whether that be for personal space on a bus, vocational space (to find one’s place in a company), over bathroom use, or in the geopolitical sphere—two tanks face off. The narrator poses a solution: “If we are kinder, and if we love each other then, in this beautiful world, there’s room for everyone.” Here, Iranian author/illustrator Teymorian’s characters are no longer stooped and curled but instead stand upright and happy. With so many people forcibly displaced from their homes throughout the world, one can only hope this message of kindness is heard. Such a strong global wish is in stark contrast to the lack of racial diversity in the illustrations. A few shades of skin are offered, but the majority present white.

Gentle political commentary reminds everyone about the power of kindness but is itself incomplete. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910328-53-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: June 23, 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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