While this app may seem simple at first glance, it is actually just skillfully restrained, providing a reading experience...

TINO THE TRIANGLE

BOOK & PEEKABOO

Colorful, simple artwork will draw young children to Tino’s story, in which the little triangle meets 10 different animal friends.

Tino, a bright yellow triangle, is in search of new friends as he explores the world. Tap Tino, and he is surrounded by a bright blue background. Quiet sound effects provide clues to guess the next friend Tino meets, revealed with another tap and creating a peekaboo game. Barks and pants signal the appearance of Fido the dog, “a funny fellow./ The fleas just love his fur.” Tino the triangle is incorporated into each illustration, whether as the dog’s ear or a crocodile’s tooth. Each animal spread contains a few interactive elements—enough to keep up interest but never impeding the pace. The order in which the animals appear changes with each reading, heightening the pleasure of the guessing game. (Unfortunately, not all of the sound clues are obvious: Do hedgehogs really snore?) The story can be read in English, Italian or German. Interestingly, the authors did not directly translate the text, instead creating text suited to young children in each language. For example, Tino meets Fido the dog in English, cane Tobia in Italian and Hund Lumpi in German. In each language, alliteration and internal rhyming combine with smooth, gentle narration suitable for toddlers.

While this app may seem simple at first glance, it is actually just skillfully restrained, providing a reading experience nicely tailored to very young children . (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 18, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: LARIXPRESS

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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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...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

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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A forgettable effort that fails to capture any of the magical charm of Santa’s story. (Picture book. 3-6)

HOW TO CATCH AN ELF

From the How To Catch… series

Wallace and Elkerton continue their series about catching elusive mythical creatures (How to Catch a Leprechaun, 2016, etc.) with this Christmas story about an elf who must avoid traps constructed by children before Santa’s annual visit.

The unnamed elf narrator is the sole helper traveling with Santa on his delivery rounds on Christmas Eve, with each house featuring a different type of trap for elves. The spunky elf avoids a mechanical “elf snatcher,” hidden in a plate of cookies, as well as simple traps made of tinsel, double-sided tape, and a cardboard box concealing a mean-looking cat. Another trap looks like a bomb hidden in a box of candy, and a complicated trap in a maze has an evil cowboy clown with a branding iron, leading to the elf’s cry, “Hey, you zapped my tushy!” The bomb trap and the branding iron seem to push the envelope of child-made inventions. The final trap is located in a family grocery store that’s booby-trapped with a “Dinner Cannon” shooting out food, including a final pizza that the elf and Santa share. The singsong, rhyming text has a forced cheeriness, full of golly-jolly-holly Christmas spirit and too many exclamation marks, as well as rhyming word pairs that miss the mark. (No, little elf-boy, “smarter” and “harder” do not rhyme.) Bold, busy illustrations in a cartoon style have a cheeky appeal with a focus on the freckle-faced white elf with auburn curls and a costume with a retro vibe. (Santa is also white.)

A forgettable effort that fails to capture any of the magical charm of Santa’s story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4631-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

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