The app’s shining features never overwhelm the simplicity of Lars’ story or the nicely executed idea at its heart.

LARS AND FRIENDS

A red horse spends a day with groups of other animals in this simple story with a clever learning hook.

Lars wants to run around long after his herd has grown tired. So he swims with a school of fish, jumps with a mob of kangaroos, and takes shelter from the rain with a tower of giraffes. As he plays, readers learn the names for groups of animals, from a memory of elephants to a parliament of owls. Animations are pleasingly granular. Tapping one obvious item, say the sun, might trigger a flurry of flowers in the air. But tapping on individual horses or kangaroos among a group could make each of them jump or simply blink an eye. The app’s restraint is admirable. It doesn’t try to extend the story to contain every possible collective name, and it keeps the focus on the words and visuals, with just a simple acoustic guitar loop playing throughout. That goes well with attractive watercolor and gouache paint illustrations of a variety of habitats. There is optional narration on every page, allowing readers to enjoy each page at their own pace. Best of the extra features is a “Learn” menu that offers many more animal group names, such as an ostentation of peacocks.

The app’s shining features never overwhelm the simplicity of Lars’ story or the nicely executed idea at its heart. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 15, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Carla Susanto

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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