THE BATHING COSTUME

OR THE WORST VACATION OF MY LIFE

An 8-year-old boy prepares to have the worst vacation of his life.

To give his parents an opportunity to prepare for a move, young Ronnie (short for Myron) finds himself bound for Grandma and Grandpa’s without Mama for the first time in his life. As if that weren’t bad enough, he’ll be there with his three rowdy, older cousins. Even worse, he has to do “a little work every day,” getting ready for third grade by writing a cumulative letter to his mother. With editorial savvy, he leaves out throwing up in the car and having his bed short-sheeted. He omits the competition he devises with his cousins to see who can wash least, and there is absolutely no way he will tell her everything about the “amazing” time he spends biking in the backyard with his cousins—sans helmets. Though he is clearly settling in, he is apprehensive about the final day, on which he will have to dive from the high diving board, a family tradition. Exacerbating this is the fact that he has his older brother’s much-too-big “bathing costume” (Grandma’s language). Moundlic’s tale of bourgeoning self-confidence is on the lengthy side, but it resonates with emotional truth. Tallec’s gentle watercolors capture Ronnie’s misery, the beauty of the French countryside, the energy of a summer with cousins and Ronnie’s bare-bottomed triumph. “I want to have exactly the same vacation next year,” he concludes. Who wouldn’t? (Picture book. 6-9)

 

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59270-141-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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