Adults searching to explain the mysteries of life to patient children will find these three a reverent answer.

OLD TURTLE

QUESTIONS OF THE HEART

The third Old Turtle story is a companion to the previous two (Old Turtle, illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, 1992, and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, illustrated by Jon J Muth, 2003) and focuses on defining the purpose of life.

Seeking answers to heavy questions, a multiracial chosen few set out with the Old Woman to find Old Turtle. Each one “carries alone the weight of his or her question,” such as “Why are we here?” and “Can you tell us about play?” One double-page spread encompasses their journey. Once they reach Old Turtle, her answers are lengthy, spiritual, and lyrical. “We live that there might be more of life in the world. More live-li-ness. More beauty, more generosity, more variety, more of the gift of life itself.” Spanning pages and paragraphs, answers delve into the meanings of happiness, family, play, balance, evil, and, particularly, death, when “we merely return to the source of our life.” The illustrations, created with graphite pencil and scanned watercolors, are appropriately ethereal and breathe life into the messages, expressing a sense of well-being and creating a comforting, Zen-like feeling. Collectively, this trio of books offers a spiritual fable with a universal message. This publication is timed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Old Turtle.

Adults searching to explain the mysteries of life to patient children will find these three a reverent answer. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-439-32111-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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