The bouncy songs and the extreme art style may well appeal to young readers, who certainly haven't seen much like it...

GUESS WHO?

Strange and funky, with an addictive soundtrack and distinctive illustrations, this app has style to spare even if it won't be to every reader's taste.

A baby is described throughout as having features that resemble those of other family members, like Mommy and Sister. But the app's clever board-book–like design features bi-cut circles that only show part of other family members’ facial features from the next set of pages. Flipping the virtual page reveals the relative and unlocks sound effects and a few minor bits of animation while also providing a window back to the previous page. The text is simple with clues like, "Baby can't go out to play. See his sad face. Who does baby look like? Guess who." In this case, it's angry-looking Grandpa, who cheers up when readers touch a sound icon located on his mouth. The app has a character-design sense that is a little freaky and a lot zany, especially in some of the added features. For example, in one of three music videos for songs based on the story, the circular mouth-and-nose-only cutaways of the baby are used to create a band of sphere-headed infants wearing tiny, Speedo-like diapers. But the songs themselves are ridiculously catchy, especially "Guess Who?", which turns the entire text of the storybook into a nearly five-minute musical number complete with animated family members and the story's photo-snapping canine. A matching game is too short to be much fun, but the narration options are rich; there's a female or male narrator choice in addition to a tool for readers to record their own. 

The bouncy songs and the extreme art style may well appeal to young readers, who certainly haven't seen much like it anywhere else. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: NCsoft

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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FROGGY GOES TO SCHOOL

Froggy's back (Froggy Learns to Swim, 1995, etc.) and on his first day of school, he wakes up late and goes to class in his underwear! No, that's only a dream—Froggy's parents wake him up just in time and they have breakfast together before leapfrogging to the bus stop. At school, Froggy gets a name tag, falls off his chair, and teaches the class—and the teacher—and the principal- -how to swim, an act that includes singing ``Bubble bubble, toot toot. Chicken, airplane, soldier.'' When his parents pick him up at the bus stop at the end of the day, they discover that he has forgotten his lunch box in school. `` `Oh, Froggy. Will you ever learn?' said his mother. `That's why I'm going to school, Mom!' '' The accessible writing has plenty of gratifying opportunities for funny sounds when read out loud, and is also endearingly wry: ``He liked his name. It was the first word he knew how to read. It was the only word he knew how to read.'' Remkiewicz's bright watercolors feature punchy, bouncy, bug-eyed animals wearing emphatically exaggerated expressions: This bunch is easy to love. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86726-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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