There are good lessons here, but here's hoping Bunting will deliver the next ones with a healthier helping of humor.

BEST SUMMER EVER

From the Frog and Friends series , Vol. 3

Frog and his friends are back (Frog and Friends, 2011) in another trio of early-reader tales, but this time they focus less on humor and problem solving and more on life lessons and manners.

In the first story, Frog and Bat play a game, pointing out the ways in which they are different, though “not unkindly.” There are compliments aplenty as the two discover that they have just as many similarities as differences. In the second story, Frog sets off for a vacation for some time alone to think. The trouble is, his friends all want to come along. Not wanting to be rude, Frog allows it, and it turns out to be the best vacation ever. In the final tale, Frog meets Starman, who gives away the stars in the sky (and teaches a few star facts in the process). Frog gathers all his friends, and they each pick out a star to be their very own, even though they have to stay in the sky. The hearty friendships are plenty evident, both in the text and in the expressive faces of Masse’s characters, but with the book’s emphasis on not hurting others’ feelings and making sure all are included, this is definitely more didactic than the series opener.

There are good lessons here, but here's hoping Bunting will deliver the next ones with a healthier helping of humor. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58536-550-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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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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