Helpful reading practice where needed.

THE BEST FRIEND PLAN

From the Adventures of Allie and Amy series , Vol. 1

Best friends Allie and Amy have plans for their summer, but when they are nearly separated, they have to zoom through their summer to-do list.

It’s the first day of summer vacation, and Amy and Allie can’t wait to get started on their short list of “Things To Do This Summer.” But they’ve only completed one item when Allie’s parents tell her that she got a spot at Camp Merry Moose. At first she is excited, but when she calls Amy, Amy tells her she can’t go because then they’ll be separated. Allie tries to back out of camp, but her parents won’t hear of it. So she devises a plan to bind herself to Amy, which, predictably, doesn’t last long. The best friends decide they will have to rush through their list. Using the alarms on their watches, they speed through their fun in time for Allie to pack for camp. Their farewell is too quick to take seriously, but it turns out they don’t have to separate after all. The large, generously spaced typeset is broken up by half-page black-and-white illustrations, and a word list gives pronunciations and definitions of less-common words. The story is more fast than fun, and it sacrifices realism and emotional resonance for speed. Still, it serves its narrow purpose of bridging the gap between beginning readers and chapter books. Allie and her family are black, Amy and her family are white, and an annoying-boy secondary character has a Spanish surname.

Helpful reading practice where needed. (reading questions) (Fiction. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5251-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Aladdin QUIX

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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