All in all, it’s lightweight fare that may elicit some giggles but not much more.


Simple, amusing animations add some life to a fairly predictable story.

Dabby Dill just can’t stop hiccupping, so she turns to her family and friends to help her out. Her dad brings a glass of water, and Emma tells her to blow on her thumb, but nothing helps. Auntie NaNa finally offers a sweet suggestion that works. Digital cartoon illustrations add to the bright, cheerful tone of the story, although the color scheme is reminiscent of a Polly Pocket dollhouse. Each page contains several animations that readers trigger by tapping, but as they often lack any connection to story or theme, they will likely distract readers instead of adding to their understanding. Supplemental nonfiction text that provides information on hiccups, peanut butter and taste buds is revealed by tapping words underlined in red. Readers can tap words highlighted in blue to hear their definitions and examples. The narration in “Story Mode” is upbeat and fits the story, but it is haltingly slow in the “Read Along” mode with word highlighting for beginning readers. Although this story does not otherwise have a religious tone, Auntie NaNa tells her niece, “Don’t forget to say your prayers, Dabby Dill,” as the now–hiccup-free girl heads back home.

All in all, it’s lightweight fare that may elicit some giggles but not much more. (Requires iOS 6.1 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Pickled Productions

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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