I LOVE MY DAD

Gently rhyming narration follows Ollie the zebra and his father as they spend a day together cooking, going to the park, painting a fence and reading a story at bedtime.

The delicate illustrations in gray and white with highlights of color are simply and effectively animated with no extra clutter to take away from the charm of the original book (2010). Tapping the characters starts them walking, riding bikes, swinging and so on, with the overall effect enhanced by realistic sounds and refreshingly high-quality, original music. Ollie’s ascent of the tree full of singing birds is particularly noteworthy; each bird is gently animated, and Ollie’s father watches with a smile from a lower branch. The littlest ones will love it when Ollie hides under a blanket and then pops out to shout “Boo!” in classic peekaboo fashion. Although easy page turns and an index page option are available, there is unfortunately no option to turn the narrator off and read it aloud. [Editor's note: "read to myself" option added in version 1.1, Nov. 22, 2013.]

Simple enough for preschoolers to enjoy independently, but like the subject itself, this app will be enjoyed most when shared together. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 30, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: SnappyAnt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not.

NOISY DINOSAURS

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

What sounds did dinosaurs make? We don't really know.

Litton suggests some possibilities while introducing sophisticated vocabulary in a board-book format. Five dinosaurs are featured: Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, Diplodocus, and Triceratops. For each species there is a brief description that highlights its distinctive features, followed by an invitation to hear and repeat the dinosaur's sound. There is no explanation for why scientists think T. Rex “roared,” Stegosaurus “howled,” Pterodactyl “screeched,” Diplodocus “growled,” or Triceratops “grunted.” The author tries to avoid sexism, carefully referring to two of the creatures as “she,” but those two are also described in stereotypically less-ferocious terms than the male dinos. The touch point on the Pterodactyl is a soft section of wing. Readers are told that Diplodocus “loved splashing in swamps,” and the instruction is to “tickle her tummy to hear her growl,” implying that this giant creature was gentle and friendly. None of this may matter to young paleontologists, who will enjoy finding the tactile section on each creature that triggers the sound. Despite extensive directions in small print, most parents and libraries won't bother to change the battery secured by a tiny hex screw, but while the battery lasts, the book will get lots of play.

Young dino fans will enjoy it, though their grown-ups may not. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58925-207-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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