This bombastic main character allows the story to shine.

MY NAME IS WAKAWAKALOCH!

Wakawakaloch is very upset because others cannot correctly pronounce her name.

The illustrations depict Wakawakaloch living in a quasi–Stone Age community à la the Flintstones’; her home is in a cave dwelling, but her parents have laptops. After their distraught daughter declares, “Me changing my name to Gloop!” (or something else she might find on a T-shirt), Wakawakaloch’s parents decide that she needs to see Elder Mooch, who is described as “the wisest Neanderthal in the village.” While the child stresses over the mixed message given to her by Elder Mooch—to be both a “forward thinker and a backwards seer”—Wakawakaloch is inspired by her ancestor of the same name, who performed brave and heroic acts for the tribe. Wakawakaloch decides to do the same, embracing her namesake by helping others and selling T-shirts that celebrate names at the big Roll-the-Boulder tournament. In Sullivan’s cartoons, these Neanderthals are a multiracial bunch; Wakawakaloch and her parents have light skin, and she wears her supercurly red hair in two puffs. The stereotypically primitive speech patterns used in dialogue will set some readers' teeth on edge. On the other hand, Wakawakaloch’s frustrations surrounding the mispronunciation of her name will resonate with many, and her taking inspiration from her ancestor is a lovely touch.

This bombastic main character allows the story to shine. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-73209-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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