A truly inclusive, heartfelt (guide) dog tale.

LOLA AND I

A picture book honored internationally for its depiction of disability portrays the friendship between a girl and her dog.

Lola, says the narrator, is her best friend, even if they don't always agree. When they met, Lola was ill and afraid to go outside, trembling at the sound of cars. But with patience, they could explore more and more together. Domeniconi's warm, soft-focus illustrations are inviting as the pair shop in an Italian city, have a snack in the park, go tobogganing, and even have their portrait painted at the seashore. Such touches as the televised black-and-white movie glimpsed through their window are casually comforting. The narrator's fond descriptions of Lola running on the beach and becoming entangled in many-textured clothes imply that Lola, "that little scoundrel," is the black Lab in the pictures. Not until a luminous hand reaches out in a two-page spread of misty blue-blackness does the narrator explain: Lola, blinded in a car accident five years ago, is her human. She, Star, is Lola's guide dog. Though the illustrations offer clues as to who's who, the clues' likely invisibility to blind readers lends this revelation additional surprise and emphasizes Segré's equally strong text. Composed of vivid, sight-free sensory details, the text's parallel treatment of Star and Lola symbolizes the close bond between dog and human, felt rather than seen.

A truly inclusive, heartfelt (guide) dog tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55455-363-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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