The difference between homework and home work? Nothing, in this case! (Picture book. 6-8)


From the Travellers' Tales series

So busy is a young Traveler’s weekend that he doesn’t realize until too late that he’s misplaced his homework book.

In the latest of a string of episodes richly infused with Traveler culture, O’Neill (Polonius the Pit Pony, 2018, etc.) pitches bitti mush (little man) Sonny into preparations for a cousin’s wedding that begin with cleaning the special cart and continue through watching a farrier make a new shoe for the driving gry (cart horse) to planning the road trip, dancing after the wedding, telling stories, and more. Afterward, he helps an older neighbor send an email message and makes popovers for Sunday dinner, among other activities. The next day, after fruitlessly searching for his book, Sonny glumly recounts the events of the weekend to the teacher and his class—who point out that his weekend’s included science (with the farrier), “food tech,” music, English, and every other subject too. The author slips Romani words into the narrative without italicizing them but does provide a glossary. Though Sonny lives in a kushti atchin tan (settled community) Beautyman evokes the Traveler way of life by tucking campers or motor homes into the backgrounds of several scenes. Sonny, olive-skinned and dark-haired, joins neighbors and relatives who display a range of skin tones; his classmates reflect the vigorous diversity of today’s British Isles.

The difference between homework and home work? Nothing, in this case! (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78628-346-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


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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