Books by Katrina Read


Two unaccompanied kids, the series' titular Little Explorers, take a trip to the African savanna, where among the (water) buffalo and flamingos they find Hamish the Hippopotamus. "I'm big and bald and I love to swim," he says, "It's really quite warm—would you like to jump in?" The unnamed Explorers swim, lie in the grass and meet Hamish's "Mum, dad and the rest of the pod" until the day ends and the kids trek home toward the sunset. (Let's hope they make it there by dark.) The rhymes are often ungainly ("swim / jump in" is representative), and there's little sense of cultural adventure beyond the phrases "Jamboni" (presumably derived from the Swahili "Jambo"—"Hello!") and "Kwa herini" (Swahili for "Goodbye!"). The app's options are limited to "Read it to me" and "Read it myself," and there are no interactive enhancements within the story. The illustrations are simple, computer-aided landscapes populated by friendly-looking beasts, but they aren't particularly accomplished or evocative. The lack of imagination is enough to make an explorer want to stay home. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)Read full book review >