A delightful, original, clever, purposeful, multicultural alien tale.

READ REVIEW

MAMÁ THE ALIEN/MAMÁ LA EXTRATERRESTRE

A young Latina is convinced her mother is an alien from another planet.

While playing basketball, Sofía accidently knocks over Mamá’s purse, spilling out its contents, including a card with Mamá’s name and, in big, blue letters, the word “ALIEN” (or “extraterrestre”). After confirming that the card is indeed real and asking her parents additional questions, Sofía is sure that Mamá is an extraterrestrial—from outer space—and so her vivid imagination and desire to better understand take her to the library to research aliens. She cannot understand, however, why Mamá looks so humanlike. One especially effective double-page spread portrays Mamá’s silhouette, hair in curlers and wearing a robe, the beam of an open fridge door casting an elongated shadow on the kitchen wall. Lacámara’s fine, vibrant acrylic-and-collage illustrations dress the story in wonder and humor between colorful, golden kitchen scenes and deep, opaque extraterrestrial homages. Lacámara’s subtle indicator that Mamá is a Salvadoran immigrant is by way of a thought bubble in which she stands on the map outline of El Salvador. Colato Laínez offers readers the text in both English and Spanish side by side or above and below, neatly laid out with its corresponding illustrations and folding in a primer on the immigration process besides.

A delightful, original, clever, purposeful, multicultural alien tale. (glossary with pronunciation, author’s note) (Bilingual picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-89239-298-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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