Shari’s experiences will help children learn how to listen to themselves.

THE SHAREY GODMOTHER

Shari T. Fairy loves to share. Her joy comes from making others happy, but some of her friends are concerned that Shari is so busy sharing, she doesn’t notice that she isn’t being treated fairly in return.

Shari’s fairy-godmother friends ask: “Isn’t it unfair that no one else gives back as much?” And: “Does anyone say thank you?” And: “Would people still be your friend if you didn’t share?” Shari considers what they say and decides to try not sharing, just to see how it feels. Almost immediately, the smiling and happy fairy becomes lonely and sad. Worse, she begins to question her motives for sharing with others. Does she share just so people will like her? Shari takes some time to check in with herself, and she realizes that “something is wrong. Something feels off. Something feels all jammed up inside.” Here, Curato’s cotton-candy colors dim to gloomy purple. It takes a visit from some of Shari’s other fairy friends to remind her who she is and what she loves to do. This book will work well as a read-aloud for older children who will have experienced situations in which they question themselves and have begun to consider how their friends see them. Readers will enjoy Curato’s colorful group of fairies, who present in a number of shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. Shari herself has light-brown skin and puffy bubble-gum-pink hair. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 23.7% of actual size.)

Shari’s experiences will help children learn how to listen to themselves. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22230-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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