MY NEW MOM & ME

Galindo’s American picture-book debut makes strides toward filling gaps in adoption narratives.

First-person narration follows an anthropomorphic puppy settling in with a “new mom.” Mom is a striped cat—on the surface, an odd choice given the antagonism typically associated with these animals. The text doesn’t acknowledge this, but it reveals related concerns: “I was worried I didn’t look like Mom.” The puppy paints stripes on its body, but Mom lovingly provides assurance: “She likes that we are different.” Cleansed of paint, child and mother take a walk and ignore a glowering spotted cat-and-kitten pair who presumably disapprove of their interspecies family. Otherwise, they stay home navigating the everyday ups and downs of getting acquainted. There’s only scant attention given to the puppy’s pre-adoptive life: it arrives with two packed bags and also says, “I’d never had my own room before.” This leaves questions open about the puppy’s life and neglects the third part of the adoption triad: the birth family. And yet, this is one of few adoption books to feature an older child entering a new family, and the two animals’ different appearances could be read as symbolizing different races. The presentation of a single mother is also unusual and valuable. Throughout, digital illustrations employ a soft, flat aesthetic rendered in a muted palette that meets the gentle text’s tone.

A welcome addition. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-52134-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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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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