With its folkloric elements, positive but not preachy message about sharing, and strong visual presentation, this will make...

READ REVIEW

THE BLUE BIRD'S PALACE

Natasha, deprived of maternal love by her mother’s death but adored by her farmer father, grows into a selfish young woman in this original tale “inspired by the Russian folk tradition” and first published in France.

She “grumpily” gives an old woman, accompanied by a beautiful blue bird, an apple and is granted one wish: a palace in which “I can invent all kinds of different rooms whenever I like.” The old woman imposes an important caveat. “You will not be able to leave this magical palace.” At first, Natasha is happy but grows tired of her solitude. Wishing for the old woman to reverse the situation, she is transformed into the blue bird for an evening flight. She sees the poverty of so many in the world and returns to her palace, a changed woman. She gives up her many rooms and begins to make bread and jam for the poor. Every night, as the blue bird, she distributes her gifts. Finally the old woman arrives, praises Natasha’s charity, and sends her home to find her father. The moral of the story is obvious, but the translated text is smooth. The sumptuous, stylized, full-bleed, double-page acrylic paintings, with jewellike colors dominated by blues are a delight, with their swirling designs and Slavic details. Hénaff depicts Natasha as an olive-skinned young woman with long, dark hair.

With its folkloric elements, positive but not preachy message about sharing, and strong visual presentation, this will make an excellent read-aloud. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84686-885-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more