A simplified—if not simplistic—conversation starter.

READ REVIEW

SNOW FOR EVERYONE!

Three children argue about where the snow comes from and who it belongs to, learning that they can share and enjoy together.

One rare snowy day in Jerusalem, Samir, Mira, and Rafi are playing but fall to arguing over how to “divide up the precious snow.” They each decide to find out where it comes from and who owns it. Samir runs to the mosque to ask the imam; Mira goes to the church looking for the priest; and Rafi, to the synagogue to query the rabbi. Each child takes some snow with them only to discover when they reach their chosen authority that it has melted. The children’s squabble is clearly a metaphor for the conflicts that arise among the region’s different ethnic groups; Mira even draws a border. Schneider’s text mentions soldiers, traders, worshippers, pilgrims, and tourists but doesn’t delve into the region’s complexities. Using gold and blue tones, Chang portrays the many different people moving through the city and the clothes and carpets displayed in the market. An unattended, fedora-clad camel strikes an odd note. Controversially, the people appear to live in peaceful coexistence, but this is not an everyday reality in divided Jerusalem. The book does not supply context necessary for readers unfamiliar with the conflict to understand such details as Mira’s border or that a war over the territories has gone on for years.

A simplified—if not simplistic—conversation starter. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4320-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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Questioneers fans will not be disappointed; new fans will find this outing a timely introduction to the series.

SOFIA VALDEZ AND THE VANISHING VOTE

From the Questioneers series

The Questioneers are back for a new early chapter book, this one featuring Sofia Valdez, of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (2019) fame.

Sofia and her friends from Miss Greer’s second grade class are back for another adventure. This time around, an election to select the new class pet offers lots of what Miss Greer likes to call Learning Experiences. Young civic activist Sofia is put in charge of managing the election, which pits candidates backed by two of her best friends against one another. Meanwhile, her cousin Marisella grapples with a pet problem of her own. Between friends and family, the election pulls Sofia in all directions, and she realizes that overseeing a fair election that runs smoothly proves to be a real challenge. Fortunately, she has sage advice from Abuelo and help from the local library to guide her. The short chapters and ample illustrations make for an accessible and entertaining early chapter book, full of fun and, yes, learning experiences. Extensive backmatter includes information on the importance of a free press, the true historical events behind Abuelo’s stories, and more information on how the voting process in the United States works. Sofia and her family have brown skin and are of Mexican heritage; her friends are diverse; and Miss Greer presents White. Marisella uses a wheelchair.

Questioneers fans will not be disappointed; new fans will find this outing a timely introduction to the series. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4350-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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