The characters are cute and colorful, but they’re not strong enough to carry this weak storyline and flawed interface to a...

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THE GOLDEN TROPHY

From the Sheldon's Bedtime Stories series

An interactive exploration of what might have happened after the Tortoise bested the Hare.

The story begins with Sheldon the tortoise standing on the podium, waving his golden trophy. Just below him are the sulking Hare and a seemingly content mole. Animal spectators are celebrating Sheldon’s win—but when Sheldon goes to bed one night, a hare posse sneaks in and steals his beloved prize. Sheldon recovers the trophy (seemingly by telekinesis), but in a spectacular anticlimax, a mole subsequently steals it and scurries down a deep underground pathway, never to be seen again. Interactions are plenteous, if not exciting. With a simple tap, leaves fall, animals make sounds, a light switches off, and a scuffle commences—nothing groundbreaking. There’s a cute sequence in which readers help Sheldon escape from the hare mob and another in which they help assemble a makeshift replacement trophy. The main problem with this app is that it’s not particularly well-designed. In select places, the visuals and interactions don’t match the text description. For example, the narrator says, “Oh no! The hares have stolen the trophy!” while the golden prize is still sitting on Sheldon’s nightstand. Screen transitions are universally sluggish.

The characters are cute and colorful, but they’re not strong enough to carry this weak storyline and flawed interface to a first-place finish. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bee Square

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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