A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes.


From the Remy Sneakers series , Vol. 1

When an evil toymaker threatens to release a fleet of robot pigeon spy drones, it’s up to urban raccoon Remy to organize and lead the resistance.

A series of break-ins by a masked bandit that looks just like him (even down to the recycled sneakers) prompts Remington Raccoon to recruit a Critter Crew of mice and rats (the pigeons refuse to cooperate) to help clear his name. But his investigation soon turns up a larger threat, as human gadgeteer Walter Fry has concocted not just a robotic raccoon thief, but an army of other robo-rodents—and, worse yet, flights of titanium-plated pigeon spy drones. Will Fry succeed in his ostensibly altruistic but ominous scheme to put the entire city under surveillance? Not so fast! Thanks to late but timely help from the pigeons, a “perfect storm of rodent rage” in the streets leads to ultimate victory for the furry and feathered defenders of the right to privacy. Sherry creates his headlong kickoff with page-filling, monochrome ink-and-wash cartoons with dialogue and narrative in several big, hand-lettered–style types. Led by tough-looking mayor Sheila Spike, human figures all appear to be white but are also rare in the multispecies cast. Throughout, Remy shows a gift for oratory (“We may all be different, but when we work together, there is nothing we can’t do!”) that may serve him well should he go into politics. First, though, he has a new problem, as the episode ends with the shocking discovery that the entirety of his precious trash collection has mysteriously disappeared. Stay tuned.

A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03460-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


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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