Best when shared with early elementary schoolers by an adult with time and tact for the discussion that will surely follow.

READ REVIEW

THE LAST TREE

What if all the world’s trees disappeared?

The fear of being burned or cut to pieces convinces the trees in Goran’s world to pull up their roots and depart, taking the shade, the birds, and the animals and leaving behind a “thick, grey smog.” Remembering all the ways he’s enjoyed the tree in his garden, Goran worries that it will leave too. He convinces it to stay and sleep through the winter while he and his friends replant the forest and pick up trash. In spring, the tree wakes to a better world. Quintana Silva, who described a refugee experience in Kalak’s Journey (illustrated by Marie-Noëlle Hébert and also translated by Brokenbrow, 2018), here introduces children to another distressing issue: deforestation. The obvious lesson in this parable is hammered home by its last line: “No trees were harmed in making this story.” The Spanish publisher has used a special “stone paper” made with calcium carbonate and high-density polyethylene. This paper feels lovely in the hand, and the pastel illustrations, done in vivid, if synthetic, colors, show off beautifully. But librarians should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this paper, which is advertised as durable, waterproof, and photo degradable—that is, the art may fade in time. While it lasts, though, it will make a conversation-provoking read-aloud. Goran presents white. The Spanish edition is also available.

Best when shared with early elementary schoolers by an adult with time and tact for the discussion that will surely follow. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-84-16733-46-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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