The final, delicious entry in a much-loved series.

IVY + BEAN GET TO WORK!

From the Ivy + Bean series , Vol. 12

Iconic second graders Ivy and Bean are back for their final outing.

Two little girls couldn’t be much more different. Bean’s mind races in remarkable (but ever so age-appropriate) circles, making it hard to stay on task, and Ivy is as quiet and contained as Bean is boisterous. But the pair are perfect together, always finding clever ways to sort out their differences and making fun out of just about any small idea. This time it’s treasure hunting. After learning at a career day about what magical and valuable items could be found if they just could afford a metal detector, the girls decide to use their “special sense” of what’s lost, inspiring lots of hole-digging but very little treasure-finding. It’s only after they secretly hide treasured items for each other that they meet with remarkable and very satisfying success. Many of the children who read the first Ivy + Bean book as second graders in 2006 are now, unbelievably, college graduates. But the series has remained fresh and relevant, offering a perfect first dip into chapter books for a whole new generation of readers. Like the others in the series, this effort combines Barrows’ nicely developed characters and her hilarious, easy-to-read take on juvenile adventures with Blackall’s spot-on Chinese ink illustrations on every spread, with purely delightful results. Ivy and Bean both present White; their classmates are diverse.

The final, delicious entry in a much-loved series. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7972-0510-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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