Unexpected gifts for both Grammy and Hunter are the results from George’s satisfying ending; the book is ideal for prompting...

A SPECIAL GIFT FOR GRAMMY

A bond built on love, understanding and trust between a grandmother and her grandson proves pleasantly surprising for all involved.

As the time approaches to say goodbye after a visit to Grammy, Hunter leaves a small stone pile on his grandmother’s front porch. When she asks him what she’s to do with it, he answers, “What everyone does with a pile of stones.” She responds wisely, “Of course.” A few days pass, and then various people in the community utilize a stone or two for a wide range of purposes. The mail carrier puts one on a pile of letters so they do not blow away, a neighbor marks her pets’ graves with a couple, a girl stacks them as a directional signal, the carpenter fashions a plumb line with one, a gardener improvises and uses one as a hammer, while a boy puts a few near the tires of his wagon “to keep it from rolling downhill.” Johnson and Fancher combine acrylic, pencil and collage to create finely textured spreads that zoom out to show the bigger picture of how one small act of leaving some stones can end up having a significant impact. When Hunter returns, only six stones are left. How these last several are used will engage readers curious and creative alike.

Unexpected gifts for both Grammy and Hunter are the results from George’s satisfying ending; the book is ideal for prompting discussions about ripple effects and the power of imagination. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-053176-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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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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