Big questions, simply put and answered, perhaps, as well as they can be.



A parental meditation on time’s elusive nature.

Like the TIMES newspaper truck drifting through early-morning streets at the beginning, Jacoby’s narrative is more often allusive than direct. “You can almost touch it,” she writes. “Some people pay a lot of attention to it. / Some don’t.” Small figures—notably three, two adults and one child—occupy a set of impressionistic urban and country scenes that begin with breakfast and a rush to catch a train, then move on to an idyllic visit with grandparents. Observations of time’s passage, which can be slow or “quick as a heartbeat skip hello,” parallel images in the pictures that play subtly on the theme, such as a toy train to contrast with the full-size one, or one parent and the mini-me child in identical poses. Following sequential views of a trip to the beach to make an elaborate sand castle and then watch it wash away (“Where does it go?”), a campfire singalong in piney woods, and a goodbye clinch, a night train back to the shimmering city leads to a cozy bedtime. What’s the upshot? “We’ve only got what we’ve got,” and the best we can do with that is to “love the time I have with you.” The couple and their child are pale-skinned (one child and a parent sporting identical mops of frizzy, brown hair, and the other parent with long, black hair), but they travel amid an amusingly lively crowd that is diverse in both race and age.

Big questions, simply put and answered, perhaps, as well as they can be. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6463-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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