Budding engineers of any species will agree that Oona has well earned the right to feel “just as big as a duck should feel.”...

BIM, BAM, BOP… AND OONA

A farmyard duck who’s not built for speed finds a way to win the morning race down to the pond.

Being big of chest and stubby of leg, Oona stands no chance against her three slimmer, longer-limbed fellow ducks in the morning rush. “Last is a blot on my life,” she kvetches to her friend Roy the frog. “I don’t feel as big as a duck should feel.” But, as Roy reminds her, she is “good with gizmos,” and maybe, just maybe she could concoct something to give her that needed boost? Good with gizmos she proves to be, and though the wobbly cart and the workout machine she cobbles together from unlikely assortments of junk stored in the shed fail to fill the bill, a climactic inspiration involving laundry, a basket, and a launch from the barn’s roof really puts the wind beneath her wings (so to speak). Soon Bim, Bam, Bop, and even Roy are asking for rides. Martin tells the tale in rollicking cadences just right for reading aloud—”A gust of wind grabbed the sails and up she went. OOO-hoolie-hoo!”—and with fine comic flair Day sets the (more or less) naturalistically depicted tinkerer, every feather bristling with concentration, amid enticing jumbles of pulleys, ropes, and buckets of detritus.

Budding engineers of any species will agree that Oona has well earned the right to feel “just as big as a duck should feel.” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-15179-0395-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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