Young readers are sure to want to join Pablo, Lily, and all of their friends, and it’s wonderful to note that the diverse...

WANT TO PLAY?

From the Confetti Kids series

In the companion title to Yoo and Ng-Benitez’s Lily’s New Home (2015), Lily enjoys playing with a diverse group of friends in her new neighborhood.

A helpful title-page illustration introduces Lily and her friends, Henry (the only white child), Mei, Pablo, and Padma, by name in order to support new readers in keeping track of them from one page to the next. Then, the first brief chapter opens with Pablo heading outside to read after being distracted by his sisters’ indoor play. He abandons his book, however, when Lily comes by with her mother and invites him to go to the park. They are soon joined by Mei, Henry, and Padma, and they go on the swings, play basketball, and climb on the play structure. Ng-Benitez’s inviting multimedia art deftly conveys a shift when the children’s play moves into imaginary scenarios as verso-page depictions of the playground come into dialogue with facing recto images of imagined scenes in a cave, at the beach, in space, and so on. When rain threatens, the children all go to Pablo’s house, where they join his sisters in their play.

Young readers are sure to want to join Pablo, Lily, and all of their friends, and it’s wonderful to note that the diverse characterization will aid in making many feel all the more included. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62014-250-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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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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