Makes the burdensome process of reworking art surprisingly engaging.

READ REVIEW

THE CHALK GIRAFFE

From South Africa comes the story of a cantankerous giraffe and the budding artist who created him.

A brown-skinned child, with sizable brown afro puffs and a penchant for yellow, applies yellow and orange chalk to a paved road to draw a giraffe that comes alive. Immediately, the giraffe complains that he’s alone and bored with the gray that makes up his created world. In response, the precocious young artist draws him an acacia tree, then bright green lush grass, then stars and a sun. The giraffe volubly finds each improvement wanting, so eventually the exhausted protagonist rubs him, the tree, the stars, and the sun out with a foot—and then regrets the action. Re-creating the giraffe, the artist is surprised when the giraffe grabs the chalk and draws the child into the picture, which allows the child to see that the giraffe is lonely. Together they draw the giraffe numerous animal friends and congratulate themselves on making “great art,” underscoring the value of editing, revision, and precision to the artistic process. For most of the book, black backgrounds highlight the chalky, textured look of the protagonist’s artwork, each page warm with citrusy colors and grounded with earthy greens that add exceptional brightness. The striking art helps to compensate for the pedestrian, singsong-y rhyming verse and the tedium inherent in documenting the iterative process of revision.

Makes the burdensome process of reworking art surprisingly engaging. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68446-096-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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