A bland take on a premise that Mercer Mayer has practically worn out single-handedly.

CHLOE'S LITTLE SECRET

Unexceptional writing and low-wattage interactive effects send this tale of a girl and her closet monster to a back shelf.

Chloe is drawn with huge, almond eyes and placed against pastel backgrounds. She explains to readers how she cuddles, cleans up after and cares for her spidery, rubber-limbed companion (anonymous, until he’s abruptly introduced near the end as “Floyd”) before anticlimactically revealing the “little secret” that he is her friend—a fact which she had previously mentioned anyway on the second screen. Toothy Floyd is appealing, with his little horns and big, googly eyes, and he makes a variety of amusing noises when he is tapped, from Donald Duck–like mutterings to gentle boinks. Unfortunately, he is not enough to sustain even this short app. The story, which is intermittently rhymed, is read by a slightly breathless narrator in both manual and autoplay modes. Selecting the latter freezes the skimpy assortment of animations and tap-activated sound effects. The app opens with an advertisement (readers may skip past it), closes on a screen that does not allow backward swiping, and features neither a thumbnail index nor a way to set a bookmark.

A bland take on a premise that Mercer Mayer has practically worn out single-handedly. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Marina Tito

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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