A serene and enjoyable way to hone fine-motor and observation skills.

THE ANIMALS OF MOSSY FOREST

A simple yet solid seek-and-find for toddlers and preschoolers.

The point of this no-frills app is to find the animals that live in Mossy Forest. There are 10 critters in all, each hidden somewhere in the landscape on the home screen. Some creatures are easier to locate than others. The fox, the mouse and the owl, for example, are peeking out from their respective hiding places. The butterfly, however, is camouflaged as a flower, while the bunny could pass for a stone. Once an animal is located and tapped, readers are zoomed in to a screen that fully reveals it, and if narration is turned on, kids are heartily commended by the plummy-voiced British narrator for finding it. Afterward, touch the “back” button to return to the landscape so the rest of the animals can be discovered. Once they’ve all been found, readers are encouraged to uncover them again. And again. The interactions are slight and modest: Owls jump, the frog eats a fly, and the hedgehog rolls up into a ball. There’s another screen that doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than counting to 10 by tapping the different animals. Narration is up to BBC standards, and the musical accompaniment is splendid (both are optional). The only thing that drags this app down is the time between touch and response; it’s moderately sluggish.

A serene and enjoyable way to hone fine-motor and observation skills. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 1-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The Flavour

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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