While sequels can sometimes be disappointing, readers and listeners who enjoyed Miss Brooks’ first appearance will likely be...

MISS BROOKS' STORY NOOK

(WHERE TALES ARE TOLD AND OGRES ARE WELCOME!)

Energetic, book-loving Miss Brooks is back, as is Missy, the grumpy, stumpy, hat-wearing reluctant reader–turned-bookworm who is her biggest fan (Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t), 2010).

This time around, though, there’s a new wrinkle: a boy named Billy who likes to torment Missy and steal her precious hats. Missy mostly manages to avoid him, but sometimes she can’t help but pass by his house, and that’s where the trouble always occurs. When a storm knocks out the lights at school one morning, Miss Brooks decides to take advantage of the atmosphere and have the kids tell stories instead of listening to her read aloud. Although her classmates suggest focusing on aliens, kittens or ghosts, Missy finds herself unexpectedly brainstorming a solution to her problem while concocting a semi-scary story about a neighborhood ogre named Graciela and her very large boa constrictor. Over-the-top silliness in Emberley’s appealing illustrations contrasts with Bottner’s deadpan delivery to amplify the humor, while clever details in the pictures reward close examination. Characters come alive with distinct voices and appearances, and the twin plots flow smoothly, if purposively, to the requisite “happy ending.”

While sequels can sometimes be disappointing, readers and listeners who enjoyed Miss Brooks’ first appearance will likely be very happy to find out what happens next—and they just might be inspired to create some tall tales of their own. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-449-81328-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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