An astute tale of emotions, empathy, and redemption.

WAY PAST JEALOUS

From the Great Big Feelings series

When Yaz draws the best picture she’s ever drawn in her life, she’s excited—until she realizes that everyone in her class is paying attention to her friend Debby’s drawing and not hers.

Things get even worse when Yaz’s teacher, Miss Pimmy, hangs Debby’s picture of a dog on the Stars of the Week board but doesn’t notice Yaz’s drawing at all. Overcome by jealousy, Yaz starts acting unkindly toward both her friends and herself. When Debby saves her a seat at lunch, Yaz ignores her and sits elsewhere. When their friends talk about how much like Debby’s dogs those in their drawings look, Yaz spills her drink on their pictures. Worst of all, Yaz leaves lunch early so she can remove Debby’s picture from the Stars of the Week board, which breaks Debby’s heart. None of these actions makes Yaz feel better—if anything, they make her feel worse—but she isn’t sure how to fix the mess she’s made. Eventually, Yaz realizes that she doesn’t really care about being on the Stars of the Week board: What she cares about is Debby. But how will she fix the mistakes she made and get her friendship back? This frank portrait of childhood jealousy is both a compelling story and a perfect teaching tool. The protagonist’s journey is authentic and accessible, making it a great way to start a conversation about big feelings. While the text makes no mention of race, the brightly colored illustrations render the cast diverse: Yaz has brown skin and black hair, and Debby appears to be Black. Companion title Way Past Sad looks at the grief experienced by two best friends about to be separated by a move.

An astute tale of emotions, empathy, and redemption. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8678-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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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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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