A mouthwatering menu, but not much else.



With help from her silent porcine buddy, a young cook concocts picnic treats—some of which are more yummy than feasible.

The six recipes (plus a craft project) may appear at the end, but they’re really the centerpiece of the tale. The lack of apples for Florentine’s Apple and Carrot Muffins with Sunshine Lemon Icing provides a temporary setback, but Pig overcomes it, charging up a tree on a “crunchy apple mission.” That's pretty much it as far as the story goes. A subsequent one-spread whirl of kitchen activity produces a bountiful basketful of snacks, from Cheddar Cheese and Pumpkin Seed Bites and Sticky Red Onion Hummus with Cucumber Dunkers to Homemade Lemonade with Fresh Berry Ice Cubes. The plot is strictly perfunctory, and Mikhail’s mixed-media cartoon scenes of a pop-eyed, frizzy-haired lass and her sweater-clad sidekick add more light than motion to the enterprise. Even more problematically, though most of the directions are clear enough for young novices to follow (with adult help suggested for some steps), the cheese-and–pumpkin-seed mixture is supposed to be cooked in “paper cups” for half an hour (cupcake liners are depicted, but young cooks who don't know better may encounter disaster). Also, the Rainbow Sprinkle Cookie recipe pairs an entire cup of butter to only 11/4 cups of flour, which would yield some very flat, fatty cookies.

A mouthwatering menu, but not much else. (foreword to parents) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59990-847-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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