A charming introduction to a life that will be unfamiliar to most readers.

ROCKY WATERS

Based on the history of a real Acadian fishing family who settled on Prince Edward Island in 1799, this picture book, set in the 1970s, tells the true story of Rocky, one of 13 children, who loved to fish.

Young Rocky feels confined and bored at school, but Dad won’t let the boy come on the boat with him until his feet can fill the family boots. The day finally comes for him to join his father and big sister on the lobster boat. Rocky has the “salt bad in [his] veins,” as his father says, and when he’s finally on the boat sailing out of the harbor, he “feels as free as a seagull.” He learns all the tricks of the trade from Dad and sister Patsy, and he even gets to steer the boat. At the end of the day Rocky falls asleep and dreams of “a world where there are no walls, and he feels free.” Seasoned author Carter’s imaginative text captures the simplicity and wonder of maritime life as seen through the eyes of a child, not unlike Robert McCloskey in his classic Time of Wonder. Dumas’ soft watercolors paint an authentic picture of hard island life, where families are at the mercy of the sea and the fishing trade. The cast is all evidently white, but the centering of French-Canadian characters adds pleasing ethnic diversity.

A charming introduction to a life that will be unfamiliar to most readers. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-097-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more