While making a point and playing up a scenario that’s probably familiar in some households, this doesn’t earn a place at the...

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THE KIDDIE TABLE

Thanksgiving dinner is fraught with potential for humiliation.

Roiling with indignation, an 8-year-old flower- and sequin-bedecked girl fumes at being made to sit with babies and toddlers at a separate holiday table laden with sippy cups, plastic dinnerware, and diners who carouse with their dishes and gloppy food. In sometimes-amusing but clunky verse that doesn’t scan well, the child argues her case for a seat among the grown-ups, itemizing all that she knows how to do. Scansion isn’t the only casualty: Ostensibly for the purpose of mining some not-very-humorous comic moments, the author sends internal logic on holiday, too. Would it not have occurred to anyone that an 8-year-old might balk at sitting with much-younger children? Would parents of such small fry not help their little ones eat or supervise their table time? All is resolved when the offended child’s mother gently explains that her daughter need only have expressed her desires beforehand. When finally invited to eat with the adults, the girl has a grand time, assists with cleanup and farewells afterward, and realizes things weren’t so bad after all. The colorful, energetic illustrations, embellished with emphatic display types that match the irate white girl’s protests, are expressive and feature secondary characters of diverse skin tones, ages, and sizes (final art not seen).

While making a point and playing up a scenario that’s probably familiar in some households, this doesn’t earn a place at the head of the table. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-002-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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