Maybe a little forced, but the mathematical wonder is creatively incorporated.

LEO + LEA

A child who likes to count meets a new classmate who likes to draw. What could they possibly have in common?

In this sparely told and illustrated episode, Leo, depicted with Asian features, walks to school counting: one flower, two trees, three squirrels, five steps, eight new classmates, 13 raindrops on the window, and so on. One day, he meets Lea, a dark-skinned classmate who sits next to him drawing. Later, upset by his inability to count all the daisies he sees outside (the loud playground noises overwhelm him), Leo takes off across grassy fields to a peaceful glade, where he finds Lea and excitedly discovers that she’s drawn 21 leaves and 13 flowers. “I love / patterns / Want to / see more?” she asks. As Wesolowska explains in her author’s note, these numbers—echoed in the changing number of words on the pages of her narrative—represent the Fibonacci sequence: a progression of sums beginning 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 that mathematically generate what is known as the golden ratio and also reflect patterns of leaves, flower petals, and other features often found in nature. Aside from framing a warm portrayal of a friendship sparked by an unexpected connection, the plot and the device don’t seem to have all that much to do with each other, but the two don’t get in each other’s way, either. For clearer and more direct views of the sequence and its inventor, steer younger readers to Sarah C. Campbell’s Growing Patterns (2010), with photographs by Richard P. Campbell, or Joseph D’Agnese’s Blockhead (2010), illustrated by John O’Brien. Leo and Lea’s classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Maybe a little forced, but the mathematical wonder is creatively incorporated. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-30287-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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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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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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