A gentle, satisfying reminder of the universal need for love and home.

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THE HAND-ME-DOWN DOLL

A beautiful doll is given to a spoiled little girl who doesn’t appreciate the gift.

The doll sits on the shelf, unnamed and unloved. She eventually begins a long, lonely journey as she is passed from place to place, each time hoping to find someone who will love her. She decorates a vegetable farm stand, becomes a prize in a carnival game and is finally sold by a street urchin for a nickel. The little girl who buys her names her Kaylee and loves her dearly; she is home at last. Kroll revisits a tale he originally wrote in 1983 with illustrations by Evaline Ness. In this new version, he tweaks it a bit, but leaves the text basically intact, carefully maintaining the essential sweetness of this ever-wistful and patient doll. Andreasen zooms in on the events in vibrant, large-scale close-ups rendered in oil paint on shellacked Bristol board. Each character’s expressions and body language carefully match behavior, and each location is textured and detailed, evoking an earlier time without specific markers. Remarkably, although the doll’s face never actually changes, a slight change in perspective or light or tilt of the head clearly indicates her feelings of hopefulness, sadness or contentment at each turn of events.

A gentle, satisfying reminder of the universal need for love and home. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6124-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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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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The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

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I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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