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

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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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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