A decent-enough addition to the shelf of stories about stories, marred only by a questionable choice from the illustrator.

READ THIS BOOK IF YOU DON'T WANT A STORY

What chance does a blocked narrator have when all the words, characters, readers, and even the page numbers gather round to offer motivation?

Having a codex for a body but otherwise bearing an ill-considered resemblance to the Frito Bandito, “The Book With No Story” opens with a scenery-chewing tally of what not to expect: ”I’ll show you no pictures, no scares and no thrills, / no cows on trapezes, no fish with big gills, / no polar bears on snowboards, no quacking duck bills….” This list is interrupted at, literally, every turn by argumentative page numbers and a burgeoning cast of characters…led by a huge polar bear. Book’s stubborn refusal to cooperate only lasts until the chorus invites a diverse squad of young readers to join in a group bear hug, then a hearty shake that gets the creative juices flowing. Though in his mix of verse and prose Phillips isn’t much for regular cadences, he does have a way with quick, galloping rhyme. He also strews this meta-tale with enticing story starters (“Once upon a time, Prince Pork Chop Lover discovered that Princess Leaping Pickle had been kidnapped by a Giant Woolly Tundra Snail”) and closes with words of encouragement to all young storysmiths: “Imagine a poem. / Imagine a play. / But don’t ever imagine / you have nothing to say.”

A decent-enough addition to the shelf of stories about stories, marred only by a questionable choice from the illustrator. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-705-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more