An engagingly subtle way to convey the power of friends in helping us face our fears, real or not.

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OH SO BRAVE DRAGON

A young, ruby-red dragon with emerald eyes explores the meanings of bravery and fear in this sequel to Oh So Tiny Bunny (2012).

The young dragon is just beginning to feel strong and brave, flapping its wings and spewing fiery, “fearsome breath” that scares away smaller creatures such as bunnies and birds. But when the dragon tries out its first, full-scale bellow, a gigantic sound emerges in a memorable double-page spread with the word “ROAR” emerging from the dragon’s wide-open mouth alongside a swarm of terrified bees. The surprised dragon is afraid of its own roar—what sort of monster might have made such a terrible sound? Now much calmer and friendlier, the dragon goes around the forest repeatedly asking, “Did you hear the monster?” The dragon spreads its wings to gather in all the other creatures, and together they make loud roaring sounds to scare away the lurking monster. The dragon is just slightly scary, with a forked tongue, sharp teeth and glowing green eyes, and its blustery bravado and emotional about-face to quivery fear will resonate with kids who can relate to both sides. The huge roaring sounds in supersized display type will also be a hit with young readers, who will want to roar along.

An engagingly subtle way to convey the power of friends in helping us face our fears, real or not. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-01689-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

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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

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