Dads get it: being brave takes work…and a dinosaur.

DAD AND THE DINOSAUR

With Dad on his side, a kid finds it easier to be brave.

Little Nick has three fears: the dark outside, bugs, and the undersides of manhole covers. But his dad’s not afraid of anything. With his plastic T. Rex in his pocket, Nick can be brave, just like Big Nick. After all, dinos aren’t afraid of the dark, bugs, or manhole covers, so Nick can conquer the climbing wall and score against the soccer goalie nicknamed Gorilla. But when the talisman falls out of his sock after said goal, Nick’s bravery seems lost as well, and the night is long and dark and scary. When Dad comes to soothe Nick after a bad dream, the tale comes out, and Dad is supercool about the whole thing, driving Nick to the field to search: “It’s guy stuff,” he tells Nick’s mother as they are leaving. With the rediscovery of Nick’s dino, his bravery returns as well, only this time, Nick isn’t the only one who knows his secret, and he knows deep down that all guys are afraid sometimes. Cleverly, Santat’s pencil, watercolor, ink, acrylic, and Photoshop illustrations show the outline of a giant monochromatic dinosaur helping Nick conquer each hurdle, and when the toy is lost, Nick looks smaller without it, his fears visible in the background. Nick and his family seem to be white, though the soccer players are diverse.

Dads get it: being brave takes work…and a dinosaur. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-24353-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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