May teach kids that it’s OK to ask for help, but it’s unlikely to be a repeat read.

GIRAFFE ASKS FOR HELP

Gary Giraffe learns to ask for help even when he feels the task is something he should be able to do alone.

Gary has finally attained the milestone of his 6th birthday. Now he’s old enough to eat the best acacia leaves up high—but his excitement is tempered by his repeated failures to reach them. Each try finds him falling over. Tye Tickbird, Gary’s best friend, finally flies down and reminds him, “When you can’t do something all by yourself, you ask a friend or family member to help.” Gary’s friends (a cheetah, an elephant, a lion, and Tye) tell him that no matter their age, everyone needs help with something, and there’s nothing wrong in asking for it. Their solution—one weighting down a branch, two others anchoring Gary’s legs—works, and Gary gets a bite of leaves. Gary’s expression often seems static, and while McDonnell’s cartoon illustrations reflect the tale, they don’t add much beyond it aside from a cringe-inducing image of two lionesses fawning on the lion. Chikowore’s tale is both pedantic and contrived; why would giraffes (even anthropomorphized ones) base their ability to eat high leaves on age rather than height? But nonetheless, the author’s lengthy backmatter note explains how important it is that children acquire the skill of asking for help and how parents can help accomplish this.

May teach kids that it’s OK to ask for help, but it’s unlikely to be a repeat read. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-2946-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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