Just another masterwork from the multiple Caldecott medalist, shimmering with light, life, and deep thoughts.

READ REVIEW

IN THE CITY

An ode to friendship on wings of rhyme. Also feathers.

Firmly clapping back at urbanites who regard pigeons as pests, Raschka offers avian flocks rendered with typically energetic brushwork in gemlike, often wildly fantastical hues, swirling lyrically around skyscrapers and apartment buildings, perching on ledges and stoplights, pecking beneath picnic tables, socializing in the park, or pairing off in flight to bill and coo. Though often parsed out to just a phrase or two per page, the accompanying verse likewise wings along, as a brown-skinned child, watching the birds “in their tumbling flocks / soaring past the courthouse clock,” wonders “where…friends come from.” This child then perches on the same park bench as a lighter-skinned child. Closer looks at the distinctive colors and shimmering highlights on the birds at her feet accompany further thoughts: “How do two friends find each other? / Why choose this one, not another?” But if, in the end, conclusions remain elusive (“I suppose it’s in the air. / All my answers are up there”), these two new friends, at least, are as close as the nearest touch or shared glance. Along with casting bright, joyful light on some ubiquitous yet often unappreciated natural wonders, this heady outing irresistibly invites young readers into a ruminative frame of mind. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 71% of actual size.)

Just another masterwork from the multiple Caldecott medalist, shimmering with light, life, and deep thoughts. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8627-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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