A fine sports story.

READ REVIEW

MARTINA & CHRISSIE

THE GREATEST RIVALRY IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS

A picture-book introduction to tennis greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

“Hey, guys— / yeah, I’m talking to you,” begins Bildner’s case to prove that the tennis rivalry between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova was “the greatest rivalry in the history of sports.” With the tone of a used-car salesman, he exhorts readers, “You NEED to know about Martina and Chrissie,” and proceeds to show how each player grew up with the game and how their separate paths led to facing each other on the court. They met 80 times, and Navratilova won 43 times. Was this rivalry the greatest in the history of sports? Greater than the Red Sox and Yankees, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, Duke and North Carolina? Debatable. Like a failed drop shot, the hyperbolic tone mars an otherwise superb sports volume. Simply describing the rivalry would have been enough to show how great it was, without trying to convince readers when there are no points of comparison to others. But the lively prose and Helquist’s action-packed, in-your-face acrylic-and-oil illustrations yield a work as engaging as an actual Evert-Navratilova match. The dramatic cover and well-designed pages will draw readers in and make them feel they have courtside seats.

A fine sports story. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7308-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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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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