An absolute treasure for anyone who has ever moved.

THE BLUE HOUSE

A father and son are forced from their longtime neighborhood.

Leo and his dad love their rented “old blue house” despite its quirks (peeling paint, a mossy roof, leaks and creaks). The house is filled with so many memories that make it theirs. In the winter, the duo make cozy forts and bake pies to warm up when the old heater breaks. They dance to “Spruce Springsteel” on vinyl. As the garden fills with raspberries and tomatoes in the summer, Leo plays in the yard until sundown. But, lately, developers have been building “big, new apartments” nearby. Their landlord informs Leo’s dad that the blue house is next to be torn down. Leo and his dad dance, stomp, and rage together. Will their new home ever feel the same? Wahl’s latest is a moving portrait of a single-parent family’s resilience and love amid redevelopment. The textured, deeply colorful art utilizes collage, and the text appears handwritten, giving the rich spreads the feel of a scrapbook. The detailed illustrations enrich not only the memories, but the characters’ colorful personalities and relationship. The third-person narrative’s tight connection to Leo and his emotions positions the text as Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House retold for a new generation. Endpapers depict Leo’s neighborhood before and after redevelopment, effectively showing the impact. Both Leo and his dad present White.

An absolute treasure for anyone who has ever moved. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9336-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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