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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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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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