RAISING YODER'S BARN

A celebration of the Amish spirit of community summoned for a one-day barn raising. Lightning-struck, the Yoder family’s barn burns to the ground, but before the week is out neighbors gather and, under the direction of grave, gray- bearded Samuel Stulzfoot, put up a new one. Too old to join the children, too young to help the men, eight-year-old Matthew is disheartened at being left out, until Stulzfoot enlists him to carry instructions to the builders. Yolen (with Bruce Coville, Armageddon, p. 975) frames Matthew’s narrative in rhythmic, literary cadences—“fingers of flame grabbed at the barn. The sky filled with blue ropes of smoke; a boy could climb them up to Heaven, if he were so willing”—that give the event a ritualistic air. Fuchs applies paint so thinly that the texture of the canvas becomes part of each scene, while the dominant colors are stately, opaque red-browns. The dimly seen background shapes and slightly unfocused foreground figures are seen in a russet light that looks smoky in firelit scenes and gives later ones a summery haze. The details of barn construction are passed over, but the central place a barn occupies on an Amish farm is clearly established. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-316-96887-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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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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