Psst! This book holds delightful secrets. And these secrets shouldn’t be missed.



A small girl shares her secrets (she knows “lots,” and she knows “secrets are for whispering”).

She cups her pale hand, covers her mouth, leans into a puppy’s ear, and begins. Throughout her day (marked by raindrops, seashells, sun, play, and, finally, stars) readers hear the girl’s husky, hushed voice unfurling ribbons of loosely tied thoughts and associations. She relays all she knows: “Whispers hide in trees. / Trees make great umbrellas. / Umbrellas are the perfect boats.” The interconnected (perhaps improvised?) litany goes on and on, while short sentences convey charming clarity and punctuated certainty. Full-bleed, double-page spreads depict playtime vignettes that inspire her secrets, and as these pictures run off the page, succeeding one another fluidly, it’s easy to visualize the girl’s secrets all strung together, a cheerful paper chain of ideas and whimsy. Pencil drawings capture the coyness in her upward-cast eyes, the bounce of her bob, her pursed smile, and the windy, leafy outdoors. Dusky digital coloring—mildly murky browns and greens—clouds the illustrations with a subtle cover of mystery, suggesting both a cloudy day and a shadowy, secretive mood. Once indoors, the mood and pictures brighten, lit up by a beaming friendship with her neighbor, a brown-skinned boy equally excited by stargazing. He also knows that “Stars keep your secrets. / They only tell the trees.”

Psst! This book holds delightful secrets. And these secrets shouldn’t be missed. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93893-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


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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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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