Edie’s plight is identifiable to anyone who’s ever been bullied or who sometimes finds everyday life a bit of a struggle.

BEING EDIE IS HARD TODAY

Some days are hard, so Edie borrows some animal traits to get through.

Edie doesn’t want to go to school, and as soon as she boards the bus, the reason why becomes clear: Edie is bullied and feels lonely. She copes by imagining herself as other animals, her wistful “Oh, to be a squid” summing up her alienation. She is depicted with leaf antennae all day long while other classmates sport different animal features. She tries to take action as a cheetah against an antelope-horned classmate, but her efforts send her to the principal’s office. At home, Edie finally admits the truth to her mom, releasing her emotions. The text shows one explicit instance of name-calling, and readers can intuit Edie’s loneliness at school from her many solo activities and disengagement. Bergeland’s 1970s-style pencil-and-watercolor pictures in a mostly pastel color palette spectacularly capture wishful quietness with lots of negative space, expanding to rich, natural spreads at emotional high points. The characters all have skin the white of the blank paper, but differences in hair texture suggest racial differences (Edie’s hair is long and straight). Often, emojis hover above the characters, providing some evidence of personality beyond body language. At the climax, faceless characters receive facial features for a deeper view of their inner worlds.

Edie’s plight is identifiable to anyone who’s ever been bullied or who sometimes finds everyday life a bit of a struggle. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52174-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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