Lambelet’s luscious, cinematic artwork will transport readers.

READ REVIEW

THE TRAVELER'S GIFT

A STORY OF LOSS AND HOPE

A boy finds joy, loss, healing, and love in the power of storytelling.

In cap and suspenders, Liam waves from a dock as his father sets sail across the opening endpages. Reunited, the two embrace before the burly sailor spins tales of his adventures in front of a crackling fire, as mermaids, treasures, and shark-infested waters swirl to life. But when his father sets out again and doesn’t return, Liam’s world turns gray and stories lose their pull, until an old traveler arrives with a magic beard who is able to weave words into pictures. Together, the two journey across the world, and Liam learns to really look and listen, and when the time comes for him to tell a story, he finds his father in stories told, in adventures taken, and in the weaving of words and sharing of stories. Fanciful illustrations are meticulously drawn, and the artist uses geometric shapes stylized to appear sculpted, reminiscent of a stop-motion animated picture. The cool, bright color palette is used to great effect as all turns gray to depict grief and loss, with color returning in the traveler’s stories and in their journey together. Skilled compositional designs showcase the flowing nature of the tales at sea and the traveler’s beard’s ability to hold the memory of adventure and become a metaphor for journey and growth. Liam and his father present white; the traveler has brown skin; Liam’s 19th-century seaside town is largely white but has a few residents of color.

Lambelet’s luscious, cinematic artwork will transport readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-765-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more