May not end complaining altogether, but it’s sure to get a lot of laughs.

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IT'S NOT FAIRY

Rhymed and subversively, hilariously funny, this British import might well spark discussion while amusing mightily.

The It’s Not Fairy looms on the title page, with lavender, toes-turned-up sneakers, torn-paper wings and a pale blue face. Mary complains when Billy gets ice cream but she just has a pear, and Billy does the same when Mary wins a costume prize and he does not. “IT’S NOT FAIR!” Their parents threaten them with the It’s Not Fairy, but…Dad carries on when he does dishes and no one helps, and Mum when she does all the housework with no help. “IT’S NOT FAIR!” The It’s Not Fairy, enraged by all the whining, announces she is going to just eat everyone up (on the menu: Fried Father with PAmesan). The horrified children placate the fairy by making a list of all the ways they are going to help each other and their parents to make life a little more fair. When the It’s Not Fairy grouses that now she has nothing to eat, everyone complains and carries on until they collapse in an affectionate heap. Even the fairy. A recipe for It’s Not Fairy Cakes is included, chopped-up fairy optional. The illustrations are wild and squiggly and full of wonderful patterns, and the typeface joins in with the fun.

May not end complaining altogether, but it’s sure to get a lot of laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84780-236-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

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I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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