A familiar story and illustrations enhanced with interactivity give this classic new life.

READ REVIEW

ONCE UPON A POTTY - GIRL

Interactive and entertaining, this 1975 classic that has been introducing kids to the potty for years adapts well to the iPad, integrating amusing sound effects, interesting use of page transition and even a sing-a-long.

The app is available in both male and female versions, and the differences between the two are limited to the anatomically obvious and slight variations in color. In both texts, the child’s mother is the primary narrator, pouring on the enthusiasm as she energetically cheers on Prudence or Joshua (depending on the edition). A gender-neutral child’s voice is heard throughout and is used effectively as a teaching tool, especially when tapping illustrations of the child. An early page introduces the child’s body, and a tap of the child’s head announces "head"; the critical body parts are "pee-pee" and "little hole," regardless of gender. However, some body parts, such as the belly button, trigger musical sound effects that are silly but not informative, which helps to keep the instructional tone light. Additional sound effects, which are activated by tapping various objects, lean toward the comical. For example, a tap of the potty elicits cheers and fanfare when the child finally succeeds in appropriately using it. Finally, where possible, tapping objects in the illustrations highlights the text word as it is pronounced.

A familiar story and illustrations enhanced with interactivity give this classic new life. (iPad storybook app. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 31, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead.

THE ITSY BITSY BUNNY

An Easter-themed board-book parody of the traditional nursery rhyme.

Unfortunately, this effort is just as sugary and uninspired as The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, offered by the same pair in 2015. A cheerful white bunny hops through a pastel world to distribute candy and treats for Easter but spills his baskets. A hedgehog, fox, mouse, and various birds come to the bunny’s rescue, retrieving the candy, helping to devise a distribution plan, and hiding the eggs. Then magically, they all fly off in a hot air balloon as the little animals in the village emerge to find the treats. Without any apparent purpose, the type changes color to highlight some words. For very young children every word is new, so highlighting “tiny tail” or “friends” makes no sense. Although the text is meant to be sung, the words don't quite fit the rhythm of the original song. Moreover, there are not clear motions to accompany the text; without the fingerplay movements, this book has none of the satisfying verve of the traditional version.

Leave the hopping to Peter Cottontail and sing the original song instead. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5621-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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