Like the paper dolls depicted on the endpapers, the characters in this story lack individuality

READ REVIEW

PEOPLE SHARE WITH PEOPLE

A first lesson in the finer points of sharing.

“People share with people,” asserts the titular refrain, and several kewpie-doll–like children displaying an array of skin colors and hairstyles engage in various activities that depict how easy or difficult it can be for young children to share toys and treats. A secondary refrain is puzzling: “what’s mine is mine, / what’s yours is yours, / but I’ll share mine with you”—shouldn’t the sharing be mutual? Despite an explanation that children are human and not animals and therefore should share, the underlying logic (“Selfish isn’t cute!”) seems quite abstract for a young child. Moreover, “I’ll share when I am done” (depicted by a child slurping from a water fountain while another waits) seems to belie the altruistic premise of the book. Though Wheeler and Idle’s first collaboration, People Don’t Bite People (2018), was good fun, this one feels a little too preachy for this young audience, however praiseworthy the messages of respect and kindness. Friendly illustrations feature cheery colored-pencil scenarios on alternating white and colorful backgrounds. However, the children lack distinctive features that would enable young readers to identify and learn about difference and instead come across as cookie-cutter depictions. Some children of color are rendered in such a way that their noses and mouths are difficult to make out.

Like the paper dolls depicted on the endpapers, the characters in this story lack individuality . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2559-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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