Although the message that newer is not always better will be welcome with caregivers, it’s unlikely this book will change...

SHOW-AND-TELL

From the Berenstain Bears series

When show-and-tell becomes all about the latest gadgets and newest stuff, Sister and Brother come up with an item for Sister to present that breaks the consumerist mold.

It all starts with a cellphone. After that particular day’s show-and-tell, all the cubs go home and beg for one of their own. Some parents give in. Some do not. On the next scheduled day, Sister brings in her Bearbie doll, but before it’s her turn, a friend presents the new Fit-and-Trim Super-Exercise Bearbie, and suddenly Sister’s Bearbie looks plain and boring. On the way home, Brother helps a glum Sister think of a solution, and the two raid the attic; the perfect thing turns out to be old, interactive, but non-electronic: a Twirl-a-Hoop (readers will know it as a hula hoop). It is a huge hit at the next show-and-tell, and not just among the students: Teacher Jane and Principal Honeycomb even take turns. Unfortunately, the tale ends there, and readers will never find out if Sister has changed the show-off nature of her class’ show-and-tell presentations. And while Sister and Brother’s mission is an admirable one, it’s rather unlike children of their ages. The look of Berenstain’s illustrations fits seamlessly with earlier series entries by his parents.

Although the message that newer is not always better will be welcome with caregivers, it’s unlikely this book will change any children’s minds about trying to top their classmates’ latest and greatest gadgets. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-235031-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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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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