The anger-management shelves are well-stocked, but this makes a serviceable addition, with value added for caregivers...

READ REVIEW

SIMON AND THE BIG, BAD, ANGRY BEASTS

A BOOK ABOUT ANGER

Young Simon is thrilled to discover that his tantrums create a series of raging, scary beasts in this Belgian import.

Simon understandably loves the feeling that it “was great, it was marvelous, it was magical” to have, for instance, an alligator to chase playmates away after he loses a game, a rhino to menace his mom for ordering him to finish his soup, and a charging ram to knock his dad down after being sent to his room. These feelings undergo a change at last after he realizes that no one wants to interact with him anymore. Worse yet, the fiery dragon that appears for no particular reason won’t go away—until he turns it into butterflies by just sitting quietly and calming down. The book’s instructive mission should be clear enough from the context and subtitle, but to drive it home there’s a hefty appendix with advice for caregivers. Views of Simon dishing out physical abuse to his parents, even if by proxy, skate close to the edge of the comfort zone, but De Haes gives the beasts comical as well as choleric looks that should allow readers to maintain a certain distance. Some dark-skinned members of Simon’s peer group add diversity to the otherwise all-white cast.

The anger-management shelves are well-stocked, but this makes a serviceable addition, with value added for caregivers seeking advice. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-664-26355-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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