Charming, inclusive, and grounded in real-life experiences.

TOO STICKY!

SENSORY ISSUES WITH AUTISM

A young girl with autism and sensory issues dreads slime day at school.

Holly’s science class is making slime, but she’s not excited one bit. In fact, Holly is rather anxious at the thought of making slime, because it’s made with sticky glue, and just syrup is enough to make her squirm in distress. Holly’s sensory issues are depicted via her dislike of sticky things, loud noises that hurt her ears, and her discomfort with making eye contact. Readers quickly grasp how Holly experiences the world differently compared to neurotypical children through Holly’s use of coping methods such as breathing exercises and using a stress ball in class. Throughout the story, Holly’s family, teacher, and classmates are shown to be understanding and helpful. They demonstrate their support and care by making small accommodations, such as speaking up or apologizing for making a loud noise. Indeed, the #ownvoices author’s debut picture book showcases the world as it should be, one in which people are aware of Holly’s autism and sensory issues and act accordingly. This story is a great conversation starter to help children understand that not everyone experiences the world the same. Lew-Vriethoff’s lively illustrations capture the emotions of the story, complementing Malia’s simple storytelling. Holly is depicted with fair skin and light brown hair while other characters are illustrated with various skin tones and hair colors.

Charming, inclusive, and grounded in real-life experiences. (author’s note, slime recipe) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8026-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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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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