Any heavy-handedness in the application of the moral is balanced by youthful art and the emphasis on confidence and respect.

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BAEOH AND THE BULLY

From the Team Taekwondo series , Vol. 2

A young taekwondo student deals with bullying in this all-animal graphic-novel offering co-published by the American Taekwondo Association.

Young tiger Baeoh finds himself the target of a trio of lunch-stealing jackals who pick on him outside of class. While his fellow animal students clearly know what’s going on, he stubbornly denies it, lying about his vulnerability and refusing help. Ironically, he also fails to see his own bullying treatment of his new training partner, an intellectual bear named Karhu, until other students point it out to him and even Karhu stands up to Baeoh. The story climaxes on Buddy Day; Baeoh’s lies have obliged him to invite the jackals, and Baeoh finally takes his own stand in a brief physical confrontation. The character designs feature large heads, bold lines, and animated expressions—though some readers may struggle to differentiate among the jackals and continuity is occasionally inconsistent. Overall, though, the full-color art does a good job at providing visual narration, especially in demonstrating brown-belt cobra Narsha’s legless tail “kicks.” Profiles in the backmatter give a rundown on all Team Taekwondo members. Befitting taekwondo’s origins, they all seem to have Korean names. They speak colloquial English, and other characters have Western names.

Any heavy-handedness in the application of the moral is balanced by youthful art and the emphasis on confidence and respect. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62336-947-7

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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