A story about migration and survival with a universal theme and a happy, not-altogether-convincing ending.

READ REVIEW

KALAK'S JOURNEY

With a nostalgic longing in their hearts but also hope for the future, Kalak the stork and his family leave their old home seeking a better one.

The family embarks on a long and tenuous journey that lasts weeks. Young Kalak, especially, is exhausted and lags behind the flock, almost catching up only to be separated from them again by a storm. Injured and alone on a rooftop in a foreign city, he awakes to the sight of “elegant” local storks. “Get off our roof!” and “There is no room for your here,” say some of them, but another gives Kalak a warm embrace and guides him away to a place where he is found by his family and reunites with them in joy. Finally, Kalak’s flock finds a new home where there is food for everybody and help from others, and he, “a stork of the world,” is now “free to fly high and discover new horizons.” Hébert’s textured, mostly black-and-white illustrations, done in what looks like graphite and with touches of colored pencil, lend themselves to the tenuousness of the storks’ journey. The timing of this book’s publication and the cityscape of the journey’s destination suggest a likely link to Europe’s immigration crisis. Readers may notice gaps in the storyline, and the parallel between human refugees and storks is a forced one.

A story about migration and survival with a universal theme and a happy, not-altogether-convincing ending. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-84-16733-44-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.

DON'T FORGET DEXTER!

A lost toy goes through an existential crisis.

The setup is on the copyright page. Amid the markers of a universally recognizable waiting room—fish tank, chairs against the wall, receptionist’s window, kids’ coloring table—is a tiny orange T. Rex with a dialogue balloon: “Hello?” A turn of the page brings Dexter T. Rexter into close view, and he explains his dilemma directly to readers. He and his best friend came for a checkup, but Jack’s disappeared. Maybe readers can help? But when Jack is still MIA, Dexter becomes disconsolate, believing his friend might have left him behind on purpose; maybe he likes another toy better? Dexter weighs his good qualities against those he lacks, and he comes up short. But when readers protest (indicated by a change in Dexter’s tone after the turn of the page), Dexter gains the determination he needs to make a plan. Unfortunately, though hilariously, his escape plan fails. But luckily, a just-as-upset black boy comes looking for Dexter, and the two are reunited. Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Readers will be reminded of both Knuffle Bunny and Scaredy Squirrel, but Dexter is a character all his own.

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4727-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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