This sweet multicultural story will resonate with anyone who has experienced stage fright, but Hana’s achievement will be...

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HANA HASHIMOTO, SIXTH VIOLIN

When Hana Hashimoto signs up for the school talent show after only three violin lessons, her brothers laugh, but with diligent practice, she learns to make some surprising sounds.

Long ago, Hana’s grandfather Ojiichan was a professional violinist in Japan. When she and her brothers visited him the previous summer, he would play for them. She loved to hear what he could do with his instrument. Not only did he play classical pieces, he could play songs, imitate natural sounds and compose melodies for dancing fireflies. Hana hopes to learn to play like that. Uegaki’s narrative and Leng’s pleasing illustrations, spreads and vignettes drawn with pencil and digitally colored, seamlessly incorporate details of both Japanese and North American life. Hana practices every day. She plays for her unappreciative brothers, attentive parents, curious dog or a row of empty chairs (one holding a picture of her grandfather). When it’s time to perform, she worries and waits with “a walloping heart.” Two moving spreads show the small child on a vast stage, emphasizing her sudden anxiety and the relief of finding friendly faces in the audience.

This sweet multicultural story will resonate with anyone who has experienced stage fright, but Hana’s achievement will be particularly satisfying to young string players who have made some unusual music themselves. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-894786-33-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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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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