A bear gets sick—and the cure changes her.
PB, a bear with brown fur, and Jeli, a bear with white fur, are friends who play together in their exhibition space in the zoo. One day, Jeli gets sick. The zoo staff treats her and she quickly heals, but the medicine turns her white fur purple. Agitated, she tries to rub and scrub the purpleness off; then she tries to paint herself white. Nothing works. Jeli is permanently purple, and here Ragsdale implements the piece’s core point: attitude adjustment. Some animals bossily lecture Jeli (no sympathy in evidence). Jeli weeps—then accepts that although she can’t change her color, she could “change one thing….She could change her attitude. / So she did just that!” She declares herself “POSITIVELY PURPLE!” Jeli’s life is now excellent, and a crowd of zoogoers cheers her on. Lest readers fail to internalize the message, the text repeats it in second-person: “with a good attitude and some good friends, you can turn any day into an ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY PURPLE day!” Zoo visitors are racially diverse throughout. Visibly disabled zoogoers (one using a wheelchair, another using crutches) show up only for the positivity-cheering rally, which regrettably links disability with the text’s emotional edict. Brooks’ merrily dreamlike illustrations have curlicue spirals everywhere and a chameleon that, delightfully, turns plaid.
Belongs on a sampler—if that. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)