Although this app isn’t doing anything radically different, its simple design, attractive artwork and excellent narration...


While animal alphabet apps are proliferating like bunny rabbits, this app’s clean design makes it stand out from the throngs.

Using a square shape that echoes familiar board books, this alphabet app combines effective narration, appealing illustrations and familiar animals to help young children learn their ABCs. With only a few exceptions, the animals are likely to be familiar to toddlers, ranging from an alligator to a bear to a turtle. The digital illustrations have a cartoon quality, but there’s a real sweetness to them. The soothing palette and lack of animation keeps the energy subdued. Straightforward setting controls allow young readers or an adult to choose the narration style and the character voice (options include a 5-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl or a preschool teacher). All of the narrators are effective, letting young readers identify with the voices, although it’s too bad there isn’t a male narrator as well. Users swipe between screens to move sequentially through the alphabet or double-tap to bring a new letter to the screen in random order. The touch screen is a bit oversensitive, and this may frustrate young readers trying to activate the random feature.

Although this app isn’t doing anything radically different, its simple design, attractive artwork and excellent narration make it an effective way to share the ABCs with babies and preschoolers . (iPad alphabet app. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Anna and Ava LLC

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.


From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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From the Llama Llama series

In this board book designed for the littlest llama lovers, adorable-as-ever Llama Llama (Llama Llama Red Pajama, 2005, etc.) gets ready for some Halloween fun.

Dewdney’s characteristic spare, apt rhymes convey a lot of action in effortlessly readable fashion. A charming and simple introduction to Halloween and its associated activities, this title finds little Llama Llama choosing and carving a pumpkin, pouring candy into bowls, picking out a costume and, finally, trick-or-treating. The costume Llama Llama decides to don—pointy teeth and a black mask and cape—is enough to frighten and fool his friends but not readers, who will immediately recognize and smile at the silly little mini-Dracula. With Dewdney’s characters as expressive as ever, young readers will be drawn right into the holiday fun, eagerly anticipating which costume Llama Llama will choose and excited to see him scare his friends and score some candy at trick-or-treat. In the equally appealing companion title, Llama Llama Jingle Bells,the little fellow gets ready for Christmas, baking and decorating some cookies in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. This simple holiday title will win Llama Llama new fans, and old friends will want to add it and its companion to their collections. (Board book. 1-2)


Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0451469786

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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