Innocuous and utilitarian.

ROSIE SAVES THE WORLD

Rushing around to get everything on her “Save-the-World spreadsheet” done, Rosie gains a better understanding of the meaning of tikkun olam (repairing the world by doing good deeds, or mitzvot.)

In Hebrew school, her teacher explains both concepts. Bespectacled Rosie’s enthusiastic response exudes her confidence that she can achieve “great deeds” within her own neighborhood. She works on a food drive, participates in a homework-assistance program, performs in a senior center, and babysits a tot whose harried mother must meet a deadline. All the while, her own family keeps requesting her help with analogous activities, but Rosie feels too busy and puts them off for later. Praised by a neighbor for her good work, “I bet you’re a huge help at home,” Rosie suddenly remembers her family and manages to get home and do all that was requested. She helps her brother with his Hebrew lettering, cleans out the litter pan, calls her grandmother, and finally helps her mother dust. Despite Rosie’s ambitious agenda, the story is lackluster and drawn out even as it adequately gets the point across that tikkun olam starts at home with family. Line-and-color illustrations in pale hues depict this Jewish white family in a suburban community that appears to have a sprinkling of Latino, African-American, and Asian residents.

Innocuous and utilitarian. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2086-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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 dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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