This app won't win any awards for outstanding use of tablet technology; worse, it doesn’t make reading even remotely...

ZOOZOO READABLES

A collection of animal stories for beginning readers.

This app from Cavallo Media offers eight adaptations of previously published educational stories, all designed to stimulate language skills and boost literacy. Much like the old Dick and Jane readers, these short animal tales are written in simple and repetitive or patterned language, offering budding readers a reliable shot at mastery. Each story is six pages in length (good for short attention spans) and is accompanied by crude, clip-art–like drawings and rudimentary animation. Interactivity is minimal, as story selection, page turns and taps to repeat animation provide the only opportunities to utilize touch-screen technology. The read-to-me option includes highlighted text and sound effects, neither of which is available in read-it-myself mode. Tapping the top of any page reveals a menu icon, which allows readers to easily navigate between stories. In print, this series has been marketed directly to schools. The iPad adaptations don’t add much to the mix in terms of technological value. Other than a small amount of movement and some sound effects they don’t offer much more than the books do, which is darn little, considering the many excellent books for emerging readers currently available.

This app won't win any awards for outstanding use of tablet technology; worse, it doesn’t make reading even remotely pleasurable for children starting out on their own. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Cavallo Media

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more