THE BUS RIDE

Miller (Richard Wright and the Library Card, 1997, etc.) reimagines the story of Rosa Parks’s historic refusal to give up her bus seat as it might have happened to Sara, a young girl with an intuitive grasp of right and wrong. Parks has written the introduction to this story of Sara and her mother, who ride the bus every morning: Sara to school and her mother, whose stop is before Sara’s, to her job cleaning homes. One morning, after her mother had left, Sara becomes curious about what is in the front of the bus, so she wanders forward and sits opposite the driver. He tells her to move back where she belongs. Sara demurs; her new seat will do. The driver slams on the breaks, opens the doors, and orders her off. Sara sits tight, only aware that there is a basic unfairness at work; it’s her ingenuous way of making a stand. She is carried off the bus by the police and as she is being booked, the media gets in on the event. Next day, Sara’s noble act is splashed across the headlines, which prompts a rider boycott and an overturning of the law. What makes this book so effective are two things: First, Miller keeps the story intimate, without portentous forebodings of history in the making; second, Ward’s terrific realistic illustrations make the story utterly accessible. The approach is low-key, but readers will feel the winds of history rustle in these pages. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: July 15, 1998

ISBN: 1-880000-60-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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