A bumpy ride to a worthy message that’s still worth the trip.

GURPLE AND PREEN

A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE

Seemingly insurmountable problems are defeated one step at a time.

Gurple, a purple robot, is bereft. Her spaceship has crashed, and all the giant crayons that serve as cargo pods have spilled out. Each crayon, when broken in half, might yield something to fix the ship, but to Gurple’s consternation their contents seem useless. Only Preen, Gurple’s faithful, mostly silent companion sees this “junk” for what it is. A string of lights, a skateboard, a hockey stick, and even a lampshade all have their uses. When the ship’s multiracial human crew awakens from suspended animation, the ship is fixed. How? As Gurple translates for Preen, “the way you do anything hard…step by step by step.” Seeming chaos can overwhelm young and old alike, so Park’s message to take it slow should be appreciated by all (she even works in a clever reference to Anne Lamotte’s classic writing manual, Bird by Bird). Readers who peer closely at the logic of the book, though, may find themselves scratching their heads. Why do the crayons yield such disparate, unrelated items? Who is the kid staring out the window at the moon at the end of the book? Fortunately, the lively cartoon art, featuring digitally collaged crayons, is consistently bright, colorful, and funny. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53% of actual size.)

A bumpy ride to a worthy message that’s still worth the trip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3141-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more