With the onset of the digital age, with even wristwatches making a surreptitious exit from daily life, this app celebrates the many types of clocks that have marked time over the years.

Unfortunately, while one would expect some reference to telling time in a children’s book app about clocks—or at the very least some accurate correspondence between the time on the clocks and the text—this story focuses solely on the sounds that the clocks make. Throughout the story, a whimsical duo of horse and blue jay pass the time together swinging on pendulums, waking to annoying alarm clocks and generally introducing the reader to the various types and uses of clocks. The particular sounds of each of the clocks are cleverly rendered in onomatopoeic words, from the “Tickety-tockety” of small clocks to the “Bonggg! Bonggg!” of the grandfather clock. What is left to the imagination in the traditional book format (It's Almost Time, 2011) is enhanced by the actual sounds embedded in the interactive features of the app. A simple touch plays the sounds of the clocks and initiates the antics of the horse and blue jay. But in addition to the lack of instructional content, the paper publication’s other flaws remain, most significantly the disconnect between the text’s "one minute till cuckoo" and the illustration’s 10 minutes before 12. Although the boisterous illustrations do make it look like a lot of fun, there may not be enough here to bring back anyone but the youngest readers and true clock enthusiasts. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)    


Pub Date: May 17, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...


The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Safe to creep on by.


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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