The animation and text/audio connections need work, but the colorful illustrations, appealing cast and a light load of basic...

LULU IN AUSTRALIA

A young tourist and her cat go walkabout (well, in a minibus) Down Under.

Detailed on an opening map that also functions as an index for skipping around, the 10 stops that Lulu and her feline foil Zazou make range from Brisbane and Sydney to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and, for a bit of surfing, Cactus Beach. Along the way, the pair encounter koalas, penguins, kangaroos and didgeridoo-playing Aborigines—and readers can pause for a wildlife matching game, outfit Lulu with a sunhat and have her “throw” a boomerang along a finger-traced route. Along with small automatic animations on every page, taps on the cartoon figures activate jerky additional movements (notably a funky dance), sound effects and several original short songs or pieces of instrumental music. An option for silent reading is available but not recommended. The English or French audio narrative not only has to be muted separately on each screen but extends the visible text considerably with conversations, factual input (“Why did you wake me up? Don’t you know that koalas sleep for 18 hours a day?”) and additional descriptive commentary. An upcoming sequel gets no fewer than three plugs on the final page.

The animation and text/audio connections need work, but the colorful illustrations, appealing cast and a light load of basic information will draw armchair travelers. (iPad informational app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Zanzibook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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