YO-YO MAN

A child gets past his fear of both a bully and a teacher in this triumphant playground memoir, to which Davis contributes a set of typically over-the-top illustrations featuring crowds of broad-faced, pop-eyed, stubby-limbed figures with exaggerated hair and expressions. What with the evil attentions of hulking, Red Hots–candy-sucking Richard Newton and the heavy academics laid on by Mrs. Mousetrap, third grade is shaping up to be ugly. Until recess that is, when yo-yo salesman Ramon shows up to demonstrate a set of spectacular tricks and to promise a “gold yo-yo just like his, with realistic diamonds on each side” to any child who can duplicate them. Immediately seeing that Richard Newton is “a yo-yo no-go, a yo-yo goo-goo,” the young narrator determines to buckle down, with yo-yo and spelling book both. In the end, his determination pays off with a first-place ribbon in class, a “diamond-studded” yo-yo of his very own and a general cheer from his toothily grinning schoolmates. “I am a true yo-yo man,” he concludes, “And I can spell.” Even without the fantasy elements that underpin Pinkwater and Davis’s previous collaboration, Picture of Morty & Ray (2003), this will be a crowd pleaser. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-055502-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2007

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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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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