This far-out lesson in making friends understands that to the new kid in school, everyone is going to seem scary and weird.

READ REVIEW

WHEN EDGAR MET CECIL

Making friends can be really hard, especially for a little robot who’s the new kid in a school populated by extraterrestrials.

Edgar enjoys playing ball, watching scary movies and building stuff with his best friend, Quincy, but when his parents move to a new town, Edgar’s lonely and uncomfortable. At his new school, Edgar thinks the kids look “weird,” and their clothes, food and music seem “funny,”  “bizarre” and “strange.” Missing Quincy, Edgar plays alone at recess until a “big weird kid” who’s been watching him comes over, introduces himself as Cecil and admits Edgar scares him. However, once they get to know one another, Edgar and Cecil become pals. What the simple text neglects to mention, but stylized, acrylic illustrations boldly reveal in flamboyant, florescent hues, is Edgar’s a sleek, silver metal robot while Cecil and his classmates at Snorgblatt Elementary are outrageously multicolored, multishaped extraterrestrials who really are quite funny and bizarre in a totally nonthreatening way. And when Edgar and his parents moved to a different town, they really headed off in a spaceship to a completely different planet, taking moving away to a whole other dimension.

This far-out lesson in making friends understands that to the new kid in school, everyone is going to seem scary and weird. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-706-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Aims high but falls flat.

WILD SYMPHONY

Through 20 short poems, Maestro Mouse invites readers to meet a series of animals who have lessons to impart and a symphony to perform.

Brown, author of The DaVinci Code (2003) and other wildly popular titles for adults, here offers young listeners a poetry collection accompanied by music: a “symphony” performed, for readers equipped with an audio device and an internet connection, by the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. From the introduction of the conductor and the opening “Woodbird Welcome” to the closing “Cricket Lullaby,” the writer/composer uses poems made of three to eight rhyming couplets, each line with four strong beats, to introduce the animals who will be revealed in the final double gatefold as the players in an all-animal orchestra. Each poem also contains a lesson, reinforced by a short message (often on a banner or signpost). Thus, “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it” concludes the poem “Clumsy Kittens,” which is encapsulated by “Falling down is part of life. The best thing to do is get back on your feet!” The individual songs and poems may appeal to the intended audience, but collectively they don’t have enough variety to be read aloud straight through. Nor does the gathering of the orchestra provide a narrative arc. Batori’s cartoon illustrations are whimsically engaging, however. They include puzzles: hard-to-find letters that are said to form anagrams of instrument names and a bee who turns up somewhere in every scene.

Aims high but falls flat. (Complete composition not available for review.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12384-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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