Extensive editing and a major software upgrade might raise this wreck, but it will take more than that to keep it afloat.

A FRIEND TO THE RESCUE

Written over a decade ago when the author was 10 and evidently never revised, this aquatic app sinks under the combined weight of clumsy prose and a severely limited suite of rudimentary special effects.

The plot is rudimentary too. With help from a sea turtle and other friends (plural in the story, if not the title), a lost baby whale eludes sharks by hiding behind a “giant piece of corral [sic],” then rejoins his mother at last. In each sparely detailed cartoon scene, tapping five buttons shaped like shells or other sea life will cause as many random nautical facts to drop into view. These range from the uselessly broad “50-80% of all life on earth [sic] is found in the ocean,” to an awkwardly phrased claim that the “deepest spot in the ocean is the Mariana Trench and is approximately 35,797 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean.” Tapping anywhere else on any screen causes bubbles to appear with loud bloops, which is the only other interactive feature. There is no audio narration or music, nor options for paging backward or even for starting over.

Extensive editing and a major software upgrade might raise this wreck, but it will take more than that to keep it afloat. (iPad storybook/informational app. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Jolly Bubble

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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