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 close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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