Kids are not likely to get the relationships between feelings and representations on their own, but adults may find ways to...

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TODAY I FEEL...

AN ALPHABET OF EMOTIONS

An alphabet book about feelings.

For such a conceptual enterprise, the visual expressions have to be direct and convincing. The design of this subtle and sophisticated ABC doesn’t quite meet that challenge. The two-page spreads place one, and only one, word on the verso along with a capital representation of the letter that is created fancifully in a way that coordinates with the illustration on the recto. The only element that binds the book together is the same white child posing in the center of action or activity, experiencing what the depiction of the letter suggests. “E / Excited” shows a large E made of two folded blue-striped mufflers opposite a back view of the child’s head with arms spread looking at large snowflakes. “G / Grumpy” fills the shape of the letter with blue tiles, while the child is shown standing under a showerhead, arms crossed. (“Grumpy” is a bit of a stretch for the child’s fairly neutral expression; some readers may simply see “wet.”) Letter L is made up of red balloons, while opposite, the child is lifted up with a bundle of the same balloons. Many of the feelings presented are unusual, and some are, on the face of it, not feelings at all: “Brilliant,” “Mini,” “Original,” “Relaxed,” “Quiet,” “Tall.” For some letters, Moniz (or the uncredited translator) doesn’t even seem to try, as with “Z / Zzzz.” The watercolor-and–India ink illustrations are stylish, plentiful use of white space keeping the pages looking clean.

Kids are not likely to get the relationships between feelings and representations on their own, but adults may find ways to use the book to draw out their emotions. (Alphabet book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2324-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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