Despite flaws, this book can serve as a springboard for discussion of this timely and sensitive issue.

READ REVIEW

LUCA'S BRIDGE / EL PUENTE DE LUCA

Luca and his family self-deport to Mexico after receiving a letter.

Because neither Luca’s mother nor his father has “papers,” they can no longer live in the United States even though the boy and his brother, Paco, are U.S. citizens. Saddened, they cross the border and drive to Grandma’s house. Luca, who speaks no Spanish, finds solace in his trumpet. When he falls asleep, he dreams he crosses a bridge of music back over the border. After visiting his old home, he flies to his school and plays a song for his friends who have gathered to greet him. The experience makes him so happy he wakes up laughing, and his entire family joins in as sadness flies out the window. Their laughter builds a bridge of hope to the home they were forced to abandon. Llanos’ bilingual snapshot of American children trapped by complicated immigration policies meanders in a disjointed journey across the southern border. The abrupt, naïve ending implies that because Luca can visit his friends and home in his dreams, all is well, and he and his family are no longer depressed. López Real’s manga-inflected illustrations are heavily symbolic, but sometimes they inexplicably diverge from the narrative. Where a bridge is mentioned, there is only a dilapidated fence; where a hill is described, there is a flat valley. In addition, details unnecessarily change from scene to scene. A Spanish version of the text, also written by Llanos, runs alongside the English.

Despite flaws, this book can serve as a springboard for discussion of this timely and sensitive issue. (author’s note) (Bilingual picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9987999-5-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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