Kids and adults get sad sometimes, and they can help lift each other up. The narrator, a young boy, goes from happy to...

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EVERYBODY GETS THE BLUES

Staub, a native of New Orleans, cloaks a worthy message in obscure metaphor.

Kids and adults get sad sometimes, and they can help lift each other up. The narrator, a young boy, goes from happy to tearful, saying, “Hello, blues. Hello, Blues Guy— / I feel all bad and mad and sad inside.” Illustrator Roth’s “Blues Guy” appears in a natty herringbone suit, doffing a fedora and carrying both a horn and a mod-looking gray cat. The gent comforts the boy with his presence: “Blues Guy sits there by my side, / sometimes talking, sometimes quiet.” They sing together: “We sing so loud, we start to rise, / We rise so high, we start to fly— / we fly to where someone else is crying.” Some readers might wonder whether—as Staub avows—dogs, cats and tiny babies get the blues, along with “scary bullies, beauty queens, / little old ladies from New Orleans.” And the matter-of-fact appearance and leave-taking of the enigmatic Blues Guy might prompt questions from perplexed preschoolers. Roth’s Photoshop-abetted collages combine pale backgrounds, angular cut-out figures and textures that incorporate dry-brushed paint, fabric, wood and inked line. This gently instructive meditation that examines sadness— “the blues”—as a shared emotion, might be useful as a springboard to discussion in some classrooms, clinics and homes.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-15-206300-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

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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