Those with sensory issues or those attending school with them may learn from these kitties’ examples.

CLOVER KITTY GOES TO KITTYGARTEN

A sensory-sensitive kitty’s first day of kittygarten is a disaster, but after a break, she’s ready to try again, with some modifications.

Clover isn’t looking forward to kittygarten, and indeed, her first day is worse than she imagined. Salas’ word choices bring home to readers just how uncomfortable the situation is for Clover: “Sunshine glared”; “a bell…sounded like a GONG”; “Ms. Snappytail’s purrrrrfume stank.” Though readers will see the tender solicitations of Oliver as those of a perfect friend for someone with sensory issues, Clover is too distraught to notice. Her day ends with a (consequence-free) biting, spitting “hissy fit.” Clover stays home for the next three days; her mother doesn’t push. Oliver comes by twice, but Clover hides. It’s clear, though, that her desire for companionship will win out, and on Friday, armed with sunglasses, earmuffs, and her own mat for naptime, she returns to kittygarden. The day isn’t perfect, but by taking care of her specific needs, Clover survives with the help of her “calm, kind friend” Oliver. Readers and their caregivers will wish for backmatter that might provide additional guidance, whether for themselves or to help a friend, and it’s disappointing that Clover has no help in brainstorming solutions or getting through the school day. She seems very much on her own aside from Oliver, who is almost too good to be true.

Those with sensory issues or those attending school with them may learn from these kitties’ examples. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4246-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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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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