Pip’s parting thought is a lesson for all: “Pip wondered what else someone as small as a mouse might know.” It’s...

WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST?

When an owl stops to consider the words of a mouse, it changes his point of view and improves his swooping skills.

Beware food that talks back! When Pip tries to swoop toward the base of the oak to scoop up a mouse for Rufus’ mush breakfast, he falls on Theodore the mouse instead. “That was more falling than swooping,” the rodent points out. It’s the beginning of a rather lengthy (for one that occurs between someone who is supposed to be catching dinner and someone who is meant to be dinner) conversation (and perhaps friendship). Theodore has given flying a lot of thought, and he shows Pip where he should practice his swooping—above the tallest trees where it’s windiest. Pip flies off with Theodore in his talons to test the hypothesis. Pip’s swooping—and Theodore’s ride—is glorious, the illustrations showing the two above gorgeous sunset scenery. At the end of the flight, though, Rufus’ hooting brings the two back to reality and the problem at hand. Luckily, Theodore has a solution to that as well. Cazet’s pictures have an old-fashioned aesthetic, but there is a somewhat jarring clash between the fairly realistic backgrounds and the cartoon characters. (Theodore’s front stoop, a tidy arched doorway at the base of an old oak tree, is darling, though.)

Pip’s parting thought is a lesson for all: “Pip wondered what else someone as small as a mouse might know.” It’s delightfully elastic, too, for readers encouraged to think beyond the animal kingdom. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17648-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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Looking for a spud-tacular read? Starch here.

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THE COUCH POTATO

Can a couch potato peel themself off their beloved, comfortable couch?

John and Oswald’s titular spud certainly finds it very hard to do so. Why should they leave their “comfy, cozy couch” when everything that’s needed is within reach? Their doodads and gadgets to amuse and entertain, their couch’s extendable gloved hands to grab food from the kitchen, and screens upon screens to watch their favorite TV shows (highlights: MadYam, Fries), play their favorite video games, and livestream their friends. Where’s the need to leave the living room? Then…“PEW-WWWWWWW”! The electricity goes out one day. Left without screens and gizmos, the couch potato decides to take dog Tater “for a walk…outside,” where the trees and birds and skies seem rich, “like a high-resolution 156-inch curved screen, but even more realistic.” The outdoor experience proves cathartic and freeing, away from those cords that bind, liberating enough to commit this couch potato to spending more time off the couch. Similar to The Bad Seed (2017), The Good Egg (2019), and The Cool Bean (2019) in small-scale scope and moral learning, this latest guidebook to life retains John’s attention to textual goodness, balancing good-humored laughs with a sincere conversational tone that immediately pulls readers in. Naturally, Oswald’s succinct artwork—loaded with genial spuds, metatextual nods, and cool aloofness—continues this loose series’ winsome spirit. No counterarguments here, couch potatoes. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 65.9% of actual size.)

Looking for a spud-tacular read? Starch here. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295453-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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