Well-intentioned and delivered with enthusiasm, if not quite up to professional standards in writing or design.

READ REVIEW

KENYA KENYA

From the Jadyn and the Magic Bubble series

A message-driven trip to the African savanna, informative but marred by both literary and technical issues.

Published in a print edition in 2011 but offered here with different (uncredited) illustrations, the tale features a purple-skinned lad who is transported to Kenya by magic bubbles. There, he receives a fact-filled lecture from a friendly four-legged tour guide introducing herself as “Gigi, the reticulated giraffe.” After efforts to get closer to the animals he encounters lead to misadventures (“I almost lost my blue butt on that rhino’s loooong sharpened horn”), Jadyn also learns the value of respect and hands-off observation. Along with a menagerie of easily recognizable African animals floating over grassy backgrounds, the cartoon illustrations feature such touch-activated effects as kaleidoscopic spinners, falling stars and black-and-white areas that can be colored with digital crayons. Movements seldom look natural, however, and page-turn swipes are often slow or unresponsive. Also, along with the odd malapropism (“I ran, followed by Gigi’s frightened eyes”; “Smoke was shooting from her nostrils”) and an excessive! use! of exclamation marks!!!! the narrative confusingly ends with “To be continued…” on an otherwise blank screen, even though the episode could stand alone.

Well-intentioned and delivered with enthusiasm, if not quite up to professional standards in writing or design. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 26, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: FamCom

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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