Little ones may be drawn to the sparkly foil of the faux screen cover, but the programming inside is industry standard.

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MY BUSY COMPUTER BOOK

From the Skills for Starting School series

This laptop-shaped offering (it opens from top to bottom after the release of a Velcro closure) introduces tots to colors, numbers, shapes, and opposites.

Bip, Bop, and Boo, a stuffed cat, elephant, and monkey respectively, appear in each section to suggest an activity (“Bip asks, ‘What shapes do you see?’ ”) via speech bubble. All but one of the four double-page spreads have flaps for readers to lift, but unfortunately they are too flimsy to withstand robust interaction. There is also a spin dial on two pages as well as sliding panels on another; all are relatively easy to manipulate. While the concepts are presented clearly enough (the book is part of the Skills for Starting School series), some of the images are a little too small for counting or easy identification. Bip, Bop, and Boo are fairly endearing characters, but the illustrations are a haphazard mishmash of what looks to be clip art and stock photography. The handle at the top is a toddler-friendly touch.

Little ones may be drawn to the sparkly foil of the faux screen cover, but the programming inside is industry standard. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5129-3

Page Count: 10

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE BLOODHOUND GANG IN THE CASE OF THE CACKLING GHOST

Two one-dimensional detection cases of the sort that seem to be proliferating. These feature the Bloodhound Gang of TV's 3-2-1 Contact. In The Case of the Cackling Ghost, Professor Bloodhound's three young employees—ages 10, 15, and 16—are summoned to a large country house, where an old woman is bothered by nightly visits from a ghost. The ghost, the trio soon discovers, is really clumps of moths attracted by pheromones—an illusion cooked up by the woman's debt-ridden nephew who hopes to frighten her into turning over her precious, but reputedly curse-ridden necklace. In . . . Princess Tomrorow, the gang is called as witnesses for a shady couple who pretend to predict horse-race results—but the corroborating letter received by the agency has actually been mailed after the race. The one they witnessed being mailed before the race has been invalidated by a wet but deliberately glueless postage stamp. They're both clever tricks, but of a sort that usually come five or ten to a volume. There's no attempt to flesh out the puzzles, and not a trace of the Fleischman wit and vigor.

Pub Date: April 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394946731

Page Count: 63

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981

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THE CASE OF FLYING CLOCK

These latest adventures of the Bloodhound Gang (from public TV's 3-2-1 Contact) have a little more zip than the dismally perfunctory lust two (p. 800, J-186), but there is still little evidence of the Fleischman wit, inventiveness, and high spirits. And of course the idea of three kids investigating for an insurance company is too far-fetched for any nine-year-old's reality meter. But that's the situation in The Case of the Flying Clock, when Vikki, Ricardo, and Zach check out the theft of a snobbish horologist's flying pendulum clock. "Once belonged to Louis," says pompous Mr. Keefe—Louis XVI, that is. But because they know that steam will fog a mirror and salty water makes objects more buoyant, the Gang deduces that Mr. Keefe did not see a red-haired robber, as he claimed, but instead dumped his plastic-wrapped clock in his wishing-well pending future removal. The Case of the Secret Message brings the Bloodhounds up against a purse snatcher, a smuggler called Mr. Big, his bodyguard Muscles, and a little old lady who seems first a victim, then a cohort, and at last reveals herself as a young policewoman. Perhaps the point of the series is that the TV tie-in will lead habitual viewers to print. In any case, these belong with the merchandise mysteries.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394847652

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1981

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