Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already...

SHOOSH

Rough illustrations, a not-quite-there translation and characters who come across as remarkably troubled for a children's app make this story seem like a good argument for keeping quiet.

One morning, bushy-haired Anton climbs into his parents' bed holding a squeak-toy rubber duck (called a "bird" throughout the story). He's quieted down immediately, and thus begins a day that seems miserable from the outside; everything that Anton does, from slurping hot soup to shuffling his feet at the museum, is discouraged by his persistently nagging father. Dad, who may be in over his head, is covering for Mom's headache and entertaining young Anton for the day. In the end, Anton and Dad end up under a bridge, banging instruments as loudly as they can, a brief respite in an otherwise grim drama about stamping out a child's every whim. Perhaps it's not meant to be that bleak, but the app's off-kilter hand-drawn look, the use of guillemets (»Don't slurp!« scolds his father) instead of quotation marks and sour adult characters make it a chore, despite some nice illustrations and competent narration. "It's weekend now and we can all rest nicely," Dad says in one typically awkward exchange. The App Store description, which describes a series of "Ridi-Apps," confirms the language issue with proclamations like, "So this Ridi allow your child to tune into a foreign language and learn it" and "Ridis can help a child to bridge waiting times." Those sentences read the way the app feels; like being stuck in a place you can't quite figure out.

Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already become a jumbled, uncomfortable slog. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 20, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ridili

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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