GURPLE AND PREEN

A BROKEN CRAYON COSMIC ADVENTURE

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

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 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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