Dumont’s lesson can run shallow or deep, but it is a winner either way.

THE SHEEP GO ON STRIKE

When the sheep go on strike, this French farmyard finds a national tradition has crossed species.

“Why are we always the ones who get sheared?” demands Ernest, the Trotsky of the assembled sheep. Why not cat-hair sweaters or donkey-hair britches? Well, readers will think of plenty of reasons, but that won’t stop Ernest. Who freezes come October? Who then must get shots for their colds? On strike! Shut the shearers down! Agog, Dumont’s other finely etched, autumnal-colored farmyard creatures see Ernest’s point. Ralph, the sheepdog, tries a sheepdog’s time-honored trick—he nips a sheep—but they rally and stampede him, “hollering about police brutality.” Sides are taken; the sheep decide to march for their demands. Around one corner, they meet a phalanx of dogs. The protestors engage, then retreat and rethink their tactics. The idea of sharing gets batted about—an equitable distribution of labor, if not in so many words: “We give our eggs every morning,” says one hen. “Not all of them, luckily, not all of them!” counters a fortunate chick. An idea is born: It’s never too early to introduce “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” (as long as they are not piggy-wiggies).

Dumont’s lesson can run shallow or deep, but it is a winner either way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5470-4

Page Count: 33

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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