The illustrations are delicious, but the tale cuts little new ground.

SHIFTY MCGIFTY AND SLIPPERY SAM

Some rather slim fun about a couple of dogs making indecently sweet desserts.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are two pooches in the robbery biz. But they are a luckless duo, their swag bag empty night after night. They hit on a plan—not a very community-minded one—to rob their neighbors. They’ll throw a party, and when everyone is making merry, Shifty and Sam will sneak out and ransack their homes. Bad dogs! Shifty and Sam also realize that they have to make fixings for the party and fall pretty hard for the art of baking: cupcakes, pies, cakes and doughnuts—“So creamy!” “So dreamy!” “The best buns in town!” gasp their neighbors. When the two dogs make their nefarious move, one of the partygoers overhears their plan and alerts the others, who follow at a distance. Shifty and Sam are thwarted. They are advised to go legit: Open a bakery. No clever turns here, no unexpected much of anything: The two dogs are on the path to rightness since their path to wrongness was a bust. The rhymed text is comfortable and has a certain melody; the artwork of pastel oil and chalk in party colors—pastry’s best friends on the page—is pure confection.

The illustrations are delicious, but the tale cuts little new ground. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6838-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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