While it is wonderful to see a book featuring Latina characters who are proud Americans, the promotion of idealized visions...

READ REVIEW

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE

An intergenerational ode to a positive United States immigration experience.

Libby is proud of her great-aunt Lobo (which means “wolf” in Spanish), who has just passed the United States citizenship test. On Thursday, Libby will lead her class in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and on Friday, Lobo will recite the pledge to officially become a U.S. citizen. Lobo and Libby practice together, and Lobo shares her story. While Lobo’s nostalgic recounting of her immigration experience pairs well with Barton’s soft pencil sketches, the story of her family’s immigration reads a bit candy-coated as she describes her father’s desire for a “safer place” to raise his daughters and neglects to mention any hardships they may have faced. In the end, all goes well for Libby at school, and she is able attend the ceremony with Lobo and recite the pledge along with her great-aunt. Intertextual historical facts make this book a shoo-in for social-studies units on the United States, though they have been simplified for the audience. Libby’s teacher tells her class that Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge in 1892, but she neglects to point out that “under God” was added during the Eisenhower administration.

While it is wonderful to see a book featuring Latina characters who are proud Americans, the promotion of idealized visions of life in the United States and the immigrant experience makes it a distinctly one-sided treatment. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-307-93181-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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