Good for one time around the block, though probably not for two.

TWO TOUGH CROCS

Two tough crocs learn that there is always a bigger, tougher croc in the swamp.

Jellett’s two saurian bullies, Sylvester and Arnold, live in a big swamp. They have never even met. They both wear tough-croc shorts, so what else is there to say? One day, they accidentally meet. There is a showdown: They glare at each other before clinching in a fearsome two-clawed grip. (This is all tamely farcical as drawn in fruity colors by Bedford, though with just enough menace in the crocs’ eyes to keep things from unadulterated silliness.) Then they hear a hiss. It’s Betty the Bad, the biggest, toughest croc in the swamp, who wouldn’t think twice about “messing up their toys.” Sylvester and Arnold soon find themselves shivering in the slimy bog, waiting for nightfall and a dash to happier swamp grounds. When they try to make their escape, Betty spots them. The two little bullies clutch each other, and what does Betty see? A four-eyed, eight-clawed, teeth-rattling, knobby two-tailed something...something scary. A friendship is born. Despite its modest charms, there is not much of a story here, nor is the twist memorable enough to withstand many exposures.

Good for one time around the block, though probably not for two. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3048-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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
more