This quirky French-Canadian import stands out—rather like an elephant at an art museum.

READ REVIEW

THROUGH THE ELEPHANT'S DOOR

Will the officious, sneering guard at the art museum eventually banish a boy and his elephant friend, Émile?

As soon as the boy and his pachyderm pal enter the museum, the guard greets them with, “Not so fast, sweetie pie!” After grilling them on the rules, he follows the pair through gallery after gallery, constantly bullying and berating the sensitive elephant. The bespectacled, large-headed boy narrator exhibits behavior that will resonate with readers. Each time the guard insults Émile, the boy is politely acquiescent. After the guard has left the room, the boy lists all the rebuttals he wishes he had made. (Cleverly, these include interesting facts about elephants’ ears and trunks.) The underlying, serious message is well-balanced by the humorous premise and continued humor in art and text. There is also a fundamental introduction to art appreciation. Young readers will particularly enjoy the semidark pages in which two criminals think Émile is an exhibit. One sentence of narration feels a bit off: The boy asserts that the guard should know he and Émile will be careful, since they are not “gorillas.” It’s more of the text’s absurdity, to be sure, but it may subvert the message. All characters (except the blue-gray elephant) present as white. The text and illustrations have the air of a sophisticated picture book; the trim makes it look like a novel.

This quirky French-Canadian import stands out—rather like an elephant at an art museum. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2193-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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