Flower-calendar quibble aside, an optimistic, upbeat story.

DAISY'S DECORATING DILEMMA

From the Wild Fairies series , Vol. 1

Event coordinator Daisy must find a theme for the Blossom Bash that will please everyone.

While the current abundance of rain will benefit the flowers, it also poses a challenge: The accelerated, early bloom gives them less time than usual to prepare. Each fairy suggests their own flower or color to decorate Sugar Oak, putting Daisy in the unenviable role of being the deciding vote. (Gardeners will note the flowers listed are not all early spring blooms.) In the meantime, Daisy checks on other fairies’ preparations, troubleshooting their problems (from food and music decisions to recommending honey for seasonal allergies). Indigo’s garlands of materials from all over the forest inspire Daisy to go for an eclectic theme, allowing each fairy to decorate part of Sugar Oak however they wish. The full effect of the assortment, as well as the acceptance of an earlier than optimal bloom, is summed up by Daisy and stands as the story’s theme: “We all know we can’t control nature. We can only appreciate all that it gives us. And that’s what this celebration is really about!” In Kurilla’s frequent, full-color illustrations, Daisy is depicted with brown skin and blonde curls, and other fairies have skin and hair of all the colors of the rainbow; one fairy in the primary cast is male. Information about honey follows the story, as do a recipe, a dramatis personae, and some games.

Flower-calendar quibble aside, an optimistic, upbeat story. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63565-132-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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