Digby and Percy are slated to return in additional adventures; whether they can win the contest to capture the interest of...

DIGBY O'DAY IN THE FAST LANE

From the Digby O'Day series , Vol. 1

Mother-daughter, author-illustrator team Hughes and Vulliamy collaborate for a low-key tale with an old-fashioned feel, decidedly British flavor and cheerful illustrations.

Digby O’Day and his best friend, Percy, are anthropomorphic dogs in natty suits. Digby’s neighbor (and nemesis) Lou Ella is a stylish young woman with a fondness for fast cars. Secondary characters range from human (the members of the “friendly family,” among others), to badger (entrepreneurial brothers Don and Ron Barrakan), to various other, unnamed animals. The slight plot focuses on an auto race from one small town to another; the message, meanwhile, has more to do with kindness and altruism versus thoughtlessness and selfishness. Spelling has been Americanized, but some vocabulary may momentarily stump readers on this side of the Atlantic. Red-and-pink–tinged illustrations, created with pencil, ink and digital collage, appear on every page, breaking up the text, adding humor and clearly depicting the events as described in the straightforward text. A simple map allows readers to follow the racers along their routes. A two-page profile of Digby precedes the first chapter; car games, a quiz, drawing prompts, and brief bios of the author and illustrator as well as a preview of the next book follow the final one.

Digby and Percy are slated to return in additional adventures; whether they can win the contest to capture the interest of young readers and listeners remains to be seen. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7369-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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

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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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