It’s a better outcome for the tree than in a certain Shel Silverstein classic, but otherwise it’s a puzzlement, at least for...

READ REVIEW

THE APPLE TREE

In this original tale, told in English and in Cherokee, a lad plants an apple seed and then finds a way to deal with its impatience to grow up.

The child is dubbed “a Cherokee boy” once in the narrative, but he is otherwise a black-haired, dark-skinned Everychild in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers rather than stereotypical "tribal" garb. The young planter repeatedly encourages the seedling: “Look at you! Once you were just a seed, now you are an apple tree.” When the young tree nonetheless becomes sad and droopy (in the text, not the pictures) because it cannot make apples, he waits until it’s asleep (?) and surreptitiously ties a red apple to a branch. The next day the tree proudly offers the apple to the boy, who consumes it with relish. Years later, when the tree’s branches are bowing (at least in the text) from the weight of bumper crops of yellow apples, it opaquely proclaims “I will never forget my first apple, the one the Creator made red… / …just to show how much I am loved.” Good luck to adult readers asked to explain the significance of the color or how the boy comes to be equated with the Creator—or for that matter how deceiving the sapling is a nurturing act. The Cherokee translation runs along the bottom in script with, aside from an introductory chart, no phonetic hints.

It’s a better outcome for the tree than in a certain Shel Silverstein classic, but otherwise it’s a puzzlement, at least for general audiences. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937054-03-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: The RoadRunner Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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